Five a.m. That’s when Christmas begins in my childhood home.
I’ve always been a sucker for Christmastime. The tree, the lights, the joy that fills even the darkest days. I’m the person who puts up the Christmas tree before Halloween each year. True story.
Back when I was a kid, I was the annoying older sister who would drag my siblings out of bed before sunrise to gather on the living room floor and open our much anticipated gifts. The gifts that we may or may not have already peeled open to sneak a peek and taped back shut hoping mom wouldn’t notice. She thought she was sneaky tagging our gifts with random numbers thinking we wouldn’t do whatever it took to figure out who had which gifts.
As a grown woman, now trying the same sneaky tactics my mom used, I still eagerly await Christmas.
Gifts are my love language, so perhaps that has something to do with it for me. Either way, I love the anticipation of Christmas with my family and friends. I look forward to the precious moments of seeing the faces of my children light up when we read “The Night Before Christmas,” Luke 2, or tear open gifts they’ve been begging for.
The anticipation for Christmas is too much. So much so that we do our Christmas with our kids mid-December. I know, I know. It’s become our tradition, and we love it. In my defense, we started this tradition the year after we attended seven Christmas celebrations in two days. Crazy! Right?
As I think about my anticipation for Christmas, I can’t help but wonder if I share the same sort of anticipation for the return of Christ.
Often at Christmastime, we focus a lot on the birth of Christ and rightfully so. It is a miracle, and one to celebrate.
God loved us so much he sent his one and only son (John 3:16), born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18), to be with us, and to die for us (1 John 2:2).
That is definitely something worth celebrating! Amen?
But, Christmas doesn’t stop at Christ’s birth, it starts there. Christmas was Christ’s first return, and today, he sits at the right hand of the father (Ephesians 1:20) patiently waiting to return for his bride; you and I. And that, my friend, should fill us with anticipation.
When Christ returns a second time (Hebrews 9:28), he is not coming to be with us; he is taking us to be with HIM.
That’ll make a girl shout!!
Have you ever heard about advent?
In case advent is foreign to you, the word advent simply means “coming” and refers to the coming of Christ to earth as an infant and to his promised return to earth known as the “second coming.”
Advent season begins the Sunday closest to Nov. 30 and concludes on Christmas Eve.
It’s a time to reflect on the first coming of Christ and to wait expectantly for the second coming. Advent is a season I love; it helps me fix my focus on what Christmas is really about and gets my focus off the packages under the tree.
But, there is something else I’m learning about advent. Advent isn’t just a season that happens once a year; advent is a lifestyle.
And, those of us who truly believe in the return of king Jesus anticipate his second coming and our life and lifestyle reflect that. We live each day expecting the skies to split and for Jesus to gather his bride to take her home (Revelation 1:7).
Friend, advent begs the question, are you living a life that reflects the truth that Jesus will return? Are you living an advent life or is it just another season to you?
This is why you are also to be ready because the son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44 (CSB)
Cassie Downs, formerly of the Ellsinore area, is a speaker, author of Chasing Jesus, a 60 day devotional, and founder of Everyday Jesus Ministry. Connect with Cassie on Facebook, Instagram, or online at cassiedowns.com.