Though it is not observed by all religions, the four weeks leading up to the observance & celebration on Christmas Day are often referred to as “Advent” which means “Coming”. During Advent, the people who believe in the promised coming of a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, experience a gradual revelation of the new life that was foretold by the prophets. As the people begin to realize the depth of the fulfillment & manifestation of the coming of the incarnate Christ & what it means to them & to the world, the darkness of life we experience from time to time gradually turns into the light of hope, love, joy & deep inner peace.
The month of December is a month that culminates with two distinct observances & celebrations. Though for different reasons, both observances & subsequent celebrations have to do with darkness & light. The first celebration is known as the Winter Solstice & begins as the earth begins to tilt away from the sun. As the earth begins to tilt, shadows & darkness increase & the light decreases as we move into the season of winter. The 21st day of the month of December marks the longest night of darkness of the year, thus the shortest day of light in the year. Over time, people have come to celebrate the season of the longest night of darkness of the year, referring to it as the “Winter Solstice” because of the promise of the ending of darkness & increase of light that will be coming at the start of the next day. There are joyous celebrations during the days of the winter solstice marking the coming of increased light upon the earth. Winter Solstice is not a spiritual observance & though some preparation for the celebrations may be necessary, there is no way to prepare for the winter solstice. It comes as the earth tilts.
The second observance & celebration in the month of December is Christmas, when people receive & celebrate God coming into the world with the birth of the Christ child; Emmanuel, which means God with us. Though our culture has embraced the opportunity to celebrate the season of Christmas with various earthly symbols, Christmas itself is a total Holy spiritual experience. With all the cultural celebrating that occurs during December in the name of Christmas, in many cases the true meaning of Christmas has gotten clouded or even lost. However, unlike the observance of the Winter Solstice, there is a way to prepare for a true deep observance & celebration of Christmas that will bring new life to all of God’s creation expanding God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Though it is not observed by all religions, the four weeks leading up to the observance & celebration on Christmas Day are often referred to as “Advent” which means “Coming”. During Advent, the people who believe in the promised coming of a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, experience a gradual revelation of the new life that was foretold by the prophets. As the people begin to realize the depth of the fulfillment & manifestation of the coming of the incarnate Christ & what it means to them & to the world, the darkness of life we experience from time to time gradually turns into the light of hope, love, joy & deep inner peace. Advent is a season of; expectations & hope, of preparation & love, of anticipation & joy, & of gratitude & peace. The starting place in Advent that will gradually lead us from the shadows of the life we are living, into the bright light of new life promised & the expansion of God’s Kingdom on earth, is to remember the context under which Jesus was born & then to pause, amidst all the noise of the secular, commercial culture & dare to trust, listen, believe & embrace the good thing that God is giving us in the birth of the Holy child of Bethlehem.
Throughout the Bible we read that God called upon specific people to proclaim the Word of God to the people. The prophet Isaiah was called to prophesize to the people of God who were living in the darkness. We read in the book of Isaiah that the people had been driven from their homeland & as such, over time, they had grown to feel abandoned & forgotten by God. At the time that Isaiah prophesized to the people, their faith had faded & their hope was gone. They lived in a spirit of darkness devoid of; hope, love, joy & peace & then, the Word of God came to them through the prophet Isaiah telling them what God was going to do in their midst saying, as we read in Chapter 11:1-9:
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse & a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom & understanding, the spirit of counsel & might, the spirit of knowledge & the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor & decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, & with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist & faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid. The calf & the lion & the fatling together & a little child shall lead them. The cow & the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together & the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp & the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
Our team is ready to help you. Schedule an appointment online today.
3671 Southwestern Blvd.
Suites 101 & 213
Orchard Park, NY 14127-1752
(716) 662-7008 Office
(716) 662-5226 Fax
Open Today 8:30am - 3:00pm
Calls Accepted 8:30am - 3:00pm
View Office Hours by Practitioner