Last Sunday I offered to send to our group a short article they could use to send to friends about what the Advent season is about and to introduce our church plant. Use is if you like.
Which one of these do you know the most about: Black Friday or Advent?
My guess is that you know more about Black Friday. Let me tell you something you do not know about this upcoming Friday. It occurs on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States, falling anywhere between the 23rd and 29th of November. While it's not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off – except those working in retail, of course! In the 1960's, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” It also has a financial connotation. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit.
My personal goal is to never have to go shopping on Black Friday – but I am a guy. But what about Advent? I am a pastor and a church planter. The name of the new church is Advent. Let me tell you a little about what Advent means because this Sunday is the first of four Sundays called the Sundays of Advent.
"Advent" comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "visit" or "coming" or "arrival." The four week season of Advent is a time to get ready for the two "visits" of Christ: His first coming through the Incarnation, and His second coming as the reigning Lord. It's a time of waiting, hoping, and getting in touch with our need for a Savior. It's a season of preparation for Christmas, much as Lent is a season of preparation for Easter.
In Advent we look back to the experience of Israelites as they yearned for God to forgive their sin and restore their nation. We put ourselves in their shoes as they hoped for the coming of the Messiah. Thus we ready our hearts to celebrate the good news of Christmas.
No doubt you will see one of the many versions of the classic story, Christmas Carol. This story reminds me of the power of being forced to reflect on the past, present and future. Scrooge is remembered for his coldness but ultimately for the reverse direction he took when confronted with the future as well as misspent past. Tiny Tim has a future because Scrooge looked to the past and repented! I want to be like Scrooge – someone who is willing to repent and also live in light of a hopeful future – that is what Advent is all about. Look back, look forward and have hope because there really is a Savior!
So as you look at your budget before you leave for “Black Friday”, look at you soul during the next four weeks of Advent and see if you have the hope that only the Lord Jesus Christ can give! And if you would like to find out more about that hope and joy you are invited to be a part of the new church we are calling Advent – a joyful, preparing people that are learning how to party!
Until the Trump,