“Come in, and know me better, man!” Scrooge had been entranced by a room full of warmth and light, food and drink, but he was on the outside. Christmas for him was a strange phenomenon he saw other people enjoying, but he didn’t quite get it himself. He saw potential for a wonderful time, but he also saw potential for waste, excess, and meaningless frivolity. Scrooge was stuck in the doorway, but the joyful Ghost of Christmas Present had the answer. “Come in, and know me better, man!”
Most of us want Christmas to mean something. We don’t want it to be merely a vaguely religious season of spending money, gaining weight, and wearing sweaters with reindeer on them. We see our neighbors and friends entering into the “joy of the season”, but we worry that in all that hustle and bustle we might be missing the point. We’re stuck with Scrooge on the outside looking in. How do we set our minds on things above when it comes to the season of Advent?
The reason we’ve been distributing the Advent devotional booklet on Sunday mornings is because we believe that the readings, meditations, and songs found in its pages will guide us in participating in Christmas in a truly Christian way, that is to say, in a God-honoring, joy-producing, faith-stirring way. A number of pastors from our denomination joined together several years ago to produce this resource to guide us in thinking about Christmas, meditating on the incarnation, and enjoying the gifts that God gives us.
For each day of Advent, beginning on November 30th and ending on Epiphany (January 6th), the booklet introduces a short reading from Scripture, a devotional thought explaining and exploring the passage, a prayer that overflows from the meditation, and brief suggestions for personal and family application. Scattered throughout the booklet are Advent-themed Psalms and hymns to enable us to respond in praise to the truths we’ve been led to meditate on.
So do you want to understand what Christmas is all about? Do you want your mind and heart to be directed to worship Christ the newborn king? Do you want to grow closer to Christ by gaining a better understanding of Christmas gifts and material things? Do you want to know why feasting and excess and frivolity are not the problem with Christmas, but very much the heart of it? Do you want to be encouraged as you wait for God to act in your life? Does it spark your interest to know that the Christmas story sheds light on the faith of infants, even babies in the womb? Do you want to know why the gospels begin telling Jesus’ story by listing off His family tree? Do you ever wonder why God wanted to be sure you knew that Jesus was born while Quirinius was governor of Syria?
God packed the Christmas story full of details, and each one gives us more reason to praise and worship Him. By meditating on these things, we learn more about who God is, which means that we get to know God better. Do you want this Christmas season to be a time when you come to know God better? Then join with us as we are led to Bethlehem by using our Advent devotional. The only way to avoid remaining on the outside is to come in.