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Advent Beyond Tradition: Cultivating an Expectant Heart

My love for God often leads me down paths of discovery, exploring the profound depths behind traditions that draw us closer to God. As I set out to design a scarf aptly named "Advent," I found myself reflecting deeply on the season's true significance. For years, the commercialism of Christmas and the overshadowing of Christ's birth by wintry festivities left me with a sense of disquiet. He likely wasn't born in December, and yet, here we are, (barely) dedicating this time to celebrate His entry into our world. This pushed me to explore the traditions of Advent and seek God's heart in the process.

As I sat in quiet meditation, it.; dawned on me that the concept of Advent isn't confined to a calendar countdown to Christmas—it's an everyday invitation to expect and welcome Christ into every facet of our lives.

The Essence of Advent 

Advent, a term that means 'coming' or 'arrival,' traditionally marks the anticipation of Christ's birth and His promised return. But beyond the advent wreath and calendar, Advent beckons a daily spiritual awakening. It's an invitation to make room in the inn of our busy lives for the presence of Jesus, to align our hearts with the truth of His nearness. What does that look like?

It is about creating space amid our routines for His transformative presence, understanding that the joy and peace Paul describes in Romans 15:13 are as present in July as they are in December. What does it mean to live daily in the hope of Christ, allowing it to fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV

Anticipating the Divine in the Mundane

Praying about Advent led me to meditate about an ongoing posture of expectancy—a readiness for God's movement at any moment. It's a discipline of the heart, to seek and welcome Him in all our moments — from the breaking of dawn to the setting of the sun. It's a vibrant, lived-out faith that looks for the footprints of the Messiah in the mundane and the miraculous alike. This expectation shapes our perspective, coloring our days with the hope and promise of His Word.

Welcoming Christ isn't reserved for the echoes of carols or the reverence of church pews—it's for the here and now. It's as pertinent in our interactions with family on a weary Wednesday as it is in the sanctuary on Sunday. Every day is an opportunity to affirm, "Yes, Lord, you are welcome here."

Welcoming Christ in Our Hearts and Homes 

How can we cultivate a year-round atmosphere where Christ feels welcome? To welcome Christ means to entertain His company in our choices, conversations, and quiet moments. It's the conscious decision to make Him our perpetual guest, honoring Him with our thoughts and deeds. Every day offers a new opportunity to open the door to Christ, just as we would open our homes to a cherished guest (Revelation 3:20). It's a question not only of spiritual hospitality but of intentional living, an abiding reality that transforms how we navigate life's triumphs and trials.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 ESV

The Everyday Impact of Christ's Return

The knowledge of Christ's eventual return should stir a vigilance that permeates our everyday decisions and relationships. How does this reality influence the way we live now, knowing that any day could herald His arrival? (1 Thessalonians 5:6). This daily anticipation shapes our lives, urging us to act with purpose and love.

Advent reminds us that the incarnation was just the beginning—our Savior's work continues, and so does our call to embody Him. It's a commission that doesn't pause when the Christmas decorations are stored away. With each new day, we have an opportunity to live in a way that eagerly awaits and welcomes the redemptive work Christ offers.

Whenever this article finds you, let it be a moment to reflect on your journey with Christ. Are you living in the fullness of expectation? How will this understanding of Advent — welcoming Christ into every day — shape your actions and aspirations? How might we, as a community and individually, renew our spiritual focus, not just for a season but for a lifetime? (Luke 12:40)

Through this lens, let us approach each new day, task, and relationship with the awareness that Christ's presence is as real and vital as it was in the manger over two millennia ago. In the next article in this series, we'll delve into 'Preparing the Way' for Christ in our hearts and lives, turning expectation into readiness.

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Luke 12:40 ESV


Prayer to Welcome Christ into Your Busy Life

Lord, I feel you knocking. With my spiritual ears, I hear you. I'm not a picture of perfection, and I don't always acknowledge you, yet whenever I look up above my mountain of things to do, I find you waiting and wanting for me. Sometimes I feel ashamed that I haven't paid you the attention you deserve, but when I look at you, when I really see you, I feel loved, and cherished, and safe. Your presence is heaven and I welcome you, always. I welcome your warm presence. I welcome your wise counsel. I welcome your perfect peace. I welcome your purifying power. You are welcome here, from now until forever. Amen.



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