Recently, I downloaded an album from one of my favorite artists. As you might expect, considering the time of year, it was a Christmas album. But its title captured my attention. Brandon Heath entitled his album “Christmas is Here,” which is a fitting title since it is the holiday season after all, but there is more under the surface.
In the weeks following the album’s release, Brandon Heath and his team posted updates to Facebook claiming that even though the album was available in stores, Christmas wasn’t here yet. Brandon even set forth the idea of a petition, asking people to sign if they committed to not listen to Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving.
It was all fun and entertaining while it lasted. I didn’t sign the petition but I found myself agreeing with Brandon. Now, I love Christmas music and the traditions of the holidays as much as anyone, but there is something about waiting until after Thanksgiving to celebrate that makes it special.
In a way, it reminds me of the concept of Advent. You see, there is a difference between Christmas and Advent as they are observed on the church calendar. While Christmas is a time to celebrate and remember Christ’s birth, Advent is a time of waiting which leads the way to the fulfillment of Christ coming to earth. Advent gives the Christian an opportunity to wait in expectancy for what is to come. It creates anticipation and hope for the salvation that has come to save the world.
Like I said, I love the Christmas season, but the more I think about it, I think I am more excited to observe Advent each year. I love the feeling of build-up to Christmas Eve. I know what’s coming and I know why we’re celebrating. Hope, joy, peace, and love— they are all elements of why we celebrate Advent, and they are reasons why Christ came to earth as a baby. He came to bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the desolate, peace to the restless, and love to those who need it the most.
When Christmas finally comes, it is a culmination of the waiting— a completion to the mystery that is Advent. Why do I call it a mystery? Well, year after year, I still find it remarkable that Christ came to redeem people like you and me. He left His heavenly home to live among His people, to serve, to minister, and finally to die for the sins of we who are broken. I will never understand the “why,” but I know that it is true. And although I will never comprehend the full depth of His love, He came in love to save me, and that is all I need to know as we move toward Christmas this year.
Christmas may not be here yet, but it is drawing near, and I am ready and waiting. How about you? Are you ready for His coming?