This week has been funny for me. Not “ha ha” funny, but odd. I have spoken before about how much I love the Christmas season. Most people think of Thanksgiving as the kick-off of the Christmas Season. Black Friday starts holiday shopping. The TV starts showing holiday specials. I managed to wait until after Thanksgiving to start playing Christmas music and decorating. Now, the tree is up, Christmas music is playing often, and, even though it meant putting them up in the dark and the rain, the outside lights are up!
But, here’s the thing. It isn’t officially Christmas season yet. In church, we call the season leading up to Christmas “Advent”. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It is a time when we remember the Israelites longing for Christ’s birth as we also look forward to the time when he comes again. Many years, the first Sunday of Advent is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving was early this year, it is the second Sunday of Christmas. Advent doesn’t begin until this Sunday! That means, I have been decorating and wrapping and preparing and it isn’t officially the Christmas season yet!
In a way, though, this week is the perfect representation of Advent. Advent is the time we simultaneously remember awaiting the sending of the Messiah and waiting for the time when Christ will come again. Advent is a time of already and not yet! Just as the holiday season has begun and it is not yet Advent. This week has been a period of already and not yet! Just as we may have begun preparing for the holiday season during this time of “in between”, we can prepare Christ’s kingdom during the Advent season when while we remember we live in a time of “in between”. Already and not yet. Waiting. In Between. Waiting for the Messiah and waiting for Christ to come again.
As we enter into advent, let us find strength and inspiration from those who have waited before us. Let us live into the time of in between as we wait for the time when Christ will come again. Let us accept the hope given by the promises that God has kept to those who have come before as we look forward to the fulfillment of the promises that God has made to us.
Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”