Advent traditionally has many themes that seem to center around the four candles of the Advent Wreath and each is used depending upon the church and the pastor leading the people through Advent.
The four Sundays or weeks of Advent can be: angels, shepherds, Mary, and Joseph. This theme reminds of the power of ordinary people that lead us into the Christ event. Another theme for the four Sundays or weeks is: Peace, Hope, Love and Joy. These words remind of the message that the Christ Child brought and still brings today. Yet, another theme for this time is Wait, Watch, Prepare and Anticipate. These remind us that we must be active during these weeks leading to the Christ event and to encourage people to keep their eyes and hearts open for the next event of Christ.
It doesn't matter if you use these themes or others but what matters is that you take this time to prepare the hearts of your people as well as your own for what God is doing and will be doing. The heart needs to be ready and open for the coming of Christ, the Messiah. How sad if we rush to Christmas Day making room for the extra food and lovingly given gifts from one another if we haven't made room for the Christ.
I suppose I'm getting older and my Christmas wish list is shorter and shorter but what I want for Christmas is for my heart to be open to embrace the Savior of the world. To have my heart ready for more and more of God's promised One; in order that I might live daily as one who has been changed by the coming of Christ and one who is ready for the coming of God's kingdom here in it's completeness. I wish for the people of God to live in peace and in love with each other caring for one another as God intended in creation. I wish for all to know God's great gift of Love.
It takes four Sundays or weeks or maybe even longer but Advent is the time to do the work to make room for the Son of God in our lives; ours as well as our congregations.
Please keep on preparing as time is running out.
Advent joy to each of you,
P.S. I appreciate so much the people of Bethesda UMC for their kind and loving spirits as they invited me to preach this past Sunday. You are most amazing! Thank you to Jessica Terrell for trusting me with her pulpit.