The season of Advent begins the Christian year. In Advent we learn to wait, to expect God’s movement in the world. The most familiar Advent tradition is the lighting of the Advent wreath. Even churches that do not strictly follow the liturgical calendar make a point to read Advent reflections and light Advent candles. It’s a physical ritual that helps us anticipate the light of Christ coming into our world.
In the lives of teenagers, or any of us for that matter, it would be so easy to arrive at Christmas Day having shopped, partied, eaten, stressed about the perfect gifts, stressed about having enough money to buy the perfect gifts, and yet to have completely missed the hope that awaits us throughout the season of Advent. During the holiday season, just look at the news stories about shoppers lined up in the early morning hours and fighting one another to get inside the door. Most every year someone is assaulted while arguing over the year’s “hottest” Christmas gift. Seems like we just don’t have it in us to wait or to patiently take in the wonder of the season.
But at the very core of Advent is a patient expectation that God is about to do something. Every inch towards Christmas morning is filled with anticipation that God is going to burst onto the scene in a big way. God is coming to our world to save us, to know us, and to love us. And this is the truth we’ve been anxiously awaiting.
Sure, you may still procrastinate, waiting till the day before to complete all of your Christmas preparations. But this year I want to challenge you to savor the anticipation of Advent. Let your heart be giddy about what God is bringing to the world. Prepare room in your heart for the baby Jesus.
This year, during the Advent and Christmas season, take your youth group on a worship-filled journey from the wilderness to the manger. Be intentional about stopping amid the fast pace of the “city sidewalks.” And may your Advent be filled with wonder, expectancy, patience, awe—and most of all—worship.