Advent season is well underway. Anticipation, excitement, and expectations mark this season of waiting and preparing to celebrate the Lord. It is a season to anticipate His presence, to be excited over His coming, and to expect His Spirit to enter our lives in new ways.
For most of us, it is a busy season, both happy and difficult. Christmas stirs emotions and memories in people—I wish they were all good, but I know that for many people their memories and their feelings are hard.
A missionary friend of mine celebrated advent in a different way than most of us. She was connected to an Anglican convent in England and wrote about their advent season:
“Advent begins in sharp contrast to the Christmas carols blaring in lavishly decorated malls and swarming shoppers who buzz about in an altered state. Advent began today with a deliberate slowing down and silence…Advent is about stripping down to the essentials in preparation for Christ’s coming, taking away everything that distracts.”
In her world, their decorations and celebrations don’t begin until Christmas Eve.
“Advent is a time for marveling at inner mysteries, a time for watching in awed silence, and a time for getting in touch with our deepest long- ings for the Lord. Silencing the externals and going deeper into the stillness allows you to taste the riches of the incarnation. And what appears to be deprivation creates an expectation and space in one’s soul to contain more Christmas joy when the 24th of December arrives.”
I like that.
While we can’t all physically find a place apart from our busy lives, I pray that we find time in our hearts and minds to anticipate with excitement and expectation what God will do in our lives in the next few weeks.
I pray we can strip down mentally to the essentials, and find comfort and peace in knowing God loves us.
If you are worried about not having enough money, time or energy to “do Christmas right,” then I pray you will realize that His riches are abundant in love, joy, and peace, and His grace is always sufficient.
His love, flowing out of you, will provide blessings to others. No matter what your financial resources are, you will do Christmas right. May your deepest longings for the Lord be met this advent season.
Ray Bentley is a pastor, prophecy expert, and author. He founded Maranatha Chapel in August 1984, and the church now serves 7,000 people weekly. His daily radio show can be heard across the United States and on stations around the world. Ray Bentley Ministries produces a variety of printed, audio, and video resources for study available at raybentley.com. His latest series — The Elijah Chronicles — is a fiction series based on end-times events. The first two of three books are available here.
Read more at COMMENTARY: Slowing Down This Christmas