We hosted thirty-one people at our house for Thanksgiving this year. We setup tables in three different rooms as well as a make-shift football watching zone in the garage. It was a festive family kickoff to the holiday season.
There was no tryptophan rest for the weary though, as our Thursday Thanksgiving teardown gave way to a weekend of decking the halls. When you’re married to an interior decorator, that means every room in the house gets the full Christmas treatment. It was beautifully exhausting and totally worth it.
As I sat in the living room early on Saturday reading a book, listening to Manheim Steamroller, and basking in the early morning glow of one of our three fully decorated Christmas trees, I had a bit of a God moment. It hit me that this feeling of warmth and joy was just a first taste of all that God has prepared for His people. And one day, our joy will be complete.
Sunday kicked off the season of advent. Perhaps, like me, you weren’t raised in a faith tradition that celebrated advent (we tended to run from anything that looked like liturgy). But for many contemporary Christians today, advent is being embraced as a counter to the secular culture’s commercialization of Christmas. Here’s a short article on the history advent from The Gospel Coalition if you’re interested in learning more about its origins and practice.
Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which simply means “arrival.” But for early Christians, advent wasn’t just a focus on the first coming of Jesus as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. It was also a reminder that Jesus will one day come again to bring final judgment and justice to the world. So advent looks both forward and backward, and acknowledges that we live in the in-between of these two arrivals of Jesus. That truth became real to me in that beautiful moment by the Christmas tree early Saturday morning.
Christ has come. His Kingdom is here. Our God is with us. In Jesus, we have the first taste of all that is to come.
And yet, the world is still not as it was meant to be. We still long for the fullness of His second advent. And we feel the dissonance of that in-between.
That dissonance is where you and I live. It’s where we raise our families, engage as the church, run our businesses, interact with our neighbors, and go to work each day. I want to encourage you to embrace that dissonance this year.
Celebrate the coming of the Savior and long for Him to come again!
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Erik Cooper | The Stone Table