I love the season of Advent.
For me, the anticipation of something wonderful has always been very compelling (sometimes even more exciting than the actual event itself): the long awaited trip to Disney World, the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the time of family gathering, the butterflies that go along with waiting for the first day of school—these moments of hopeful anticipation contain within them such an interesting mixture of joy and exhilaration.
Thus it is with the season of Advent.
We often journey with frenetic pace towards Christmas with a dizzying crescendo that eventually delivers us exhausted at the manger. So many things pull us off the path of illumination that we never really enjoy the journey that is so much a part of this special time.
We may light the Advent candles, but more often than not we are burning the candle at both ends in our regular life. Advent can be that gentle glow that helps us connect and reflect on the deeper matters of life and faith.
As a child my parents used an Advent calendar to help my sister and me learn about the importance of hope, peace, love and joy. As our parents guided, us we learned to treasure the time of sharing more than the actual “reward” we received at the end of the lesson. Opening those little Advent windows of truth was like uncovering a road map to the true meaning of Christmas.
Church musicians understand this journey of discovery better than most. Sanctuary choirs and instrumentalists must “prepare the way” for Christmas months before the holidays arrive. Even in the crush of the season’s challenges, they find their purpose in preparation. One Advent moment at a time, they discover the treasures hidden in the message, and with devotion and faithfulness, make straight the way for the worship of the Christ. With graceful flame, the servants of Advent shine in the window and sing in the night, drawing others to the timeless and treasured message of Jesus, the light of the world.
Editor’s Note: Checkout Jonathan Martin’s latest Advent publication “THE DAWN IS SURELY COMING” along with some of our favorite selections for the seasons of light.