Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Advent of a New Season!

It's Advent!  That wonderful 4 week season of the church calendar when we anxiously await and prepare ourselves in anticipation of the coming of Christ.  Yes, it ends with the anniversary of his birth, but he doesn't exit the womb every year, just as we don't on our birthdays either.  (As a mother of seven, I am unbelievably glad of this little detail!  I'd be just popping out babies all the time!)  So what are we really waiting for? 

Well, in years past, I thought we were waiting for Christmas.  Wrong.  Then I thought we were waiting for Jesus' second coming...getting closer!  To say we are waiting wouldn't really do this journey justice.  When I have taken my turn at expecting a baby, I wasn't so much "waiting" as I was "preparing".  There are diapers to buy and exercises to do and prenatal vitamins to take.  There is a question of where this little bundle of Swager-y goodness is going to sleep...or if it will sleep.  What are we going to name this baby that doesn't rhyme with or is slang for a body part?  What nickname would Grandpa Swager call this kid?  (His grandkids include Buzz, Hack, Zack, Twenty, Der, Lyd, get the picture.)  There are all kind of important things to do to prepare for this new life that is soon to become completely intertwined with the life we've already been given.  And as we prepare, and the time gets closer, the more excited we become!  The more little signs we see of a new life stirring become greater reason for excitement and celebration!    

 I will say that waiting was much HARDER than the preparing, however, and so is that part of Advent. We'll talk more about waiting tomorrow (Hah!  Made you wait!)  The new life we prepare to receive isn't so much a new baby, but a new life in Christ.  Even very old Christians will experience the love of Christ brand new every year, if they prepare a new stable.  Refresh the straw in your manger in anticipation of this new life needing a place to find rest. Welcome in the little baby of faith, hope and mercy, and allow it to settle into your thoughts that you are not only loved, but BELOVED! 

I am going to prepare my heart for this refreshment of my spirit by blogging whatever God puts on my heart this Advent season. This is a very scary prospect, but it worked out okay during Lent last year, so we'll just trust what God has to say.  Pray for me that I'll have the courage to write the words I am given.  I pray that it blesses those of you who read it.    

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