(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Advent: an Anticipation of Christmas
By Jehn Kubiak
The day after Thanksgiving is the one time it’s acceptable to start playing a specific type of music: Christmas. But why the day after Thanksgiving? There’s a reason for that; it’s what has commonly become known as “advent,” which actually begins four Sundays before Christmas. You know those calendars with the little boxes that have a new present each day? That’s what those celebrate: the season of advent.
Each day yields a new gift in an advent calendar; so it should be in our lives as well. This advent season, take a portion of the day––morning, afternoon, evening, or whenever you can still your soul––and journal about the best “gift” you’ve received that day. It doesn’t even have to be anything tangible––it can be something like seeing a beautiful sunrise or receiving praise from your boss at work.
At the end of this season, take Christmas day to reflect on all the “gifts” you’ve received. If you feel comfortable, even share these with friends and family. They can probably benefit from hearing about your gratitude because it may encourage them to apply a similar attitude in their own lives.
As someone with four jobs, I know that even doing something this simple can be difficult when each day of the week is equally demanding. However, I also know that taking time to reflect on God’s blessings yields great results. If nothing else, remember that he sacrificed his Son for your sake, and that’s the greatest gift humanity has ever received. Spending a bit of time in reflection each day is a great way to say “thank you” to our Lord.
Although this practice is just now starting, I can already name some “gifts” God has given me lately––one that actually occurred today. I was driving to work and this gray truck pulled right in front of me. With about a foot of room, I swerved––just barely missing the car on the shoulder and avoiding a spinout––and made it out without a scratch. I was completely dumbfounded at what just happened. Literally––I kept driving right after this happened. No collision or injuries––just some slammed brakes and a muddled mind resulted from the turmoil. Immediately I knew God’s hand was over me and my car; there was no other plausible explanation given how close my car was to that truck.
Reflecting on that experience has helped me understand that I need to keep looking for God’s hand throughout all my days, not just when he surprises me. This advent season is a perfect time to adopt a posture of gratitude that can become something more permanent. And even if it doesn’t, that’s okay; it’s the thought that counts.
Go ahead–buy that advent calendar. While you’re munching on one of those chocolates, grab a journal and start the “gift list.” On Christmas day, pray over these things and spend some intimate time with the Lord, giving him thanks for his incredible gift of salvation. These gifts, both tangible and intangible, may be great, but nothing beats the love of God and the gift of his Son.
“neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:39