Advent 1 – Entering the World with Jesus

by Christine Sine

advent-1-lenton-1On Advent Sunday, as we ready ourselves to remember the infant-birth arrival on earth of our Lord and Saviour, the first candle is lit on an Advent wreath as an emblem of our faith. It’s a sign offering hope to all while they make their way through this world’s darkness, and a glowing reminder of the luminous Light of Christ in our lives.

Preparation of home and heart begins to mark the season, leading to our Christmas Day celebrations. Candles burning brightly in a house suggests a warm welcome is being offered. Our homes are meant to be habitations of the heart, places of solace and welcome. Sadly, like many others, I didn’t define“home” quite like that as a child.

Ours was a lonely place I longed to escape from, a site of verbal fights, resentful chill and an abiding air of animosity. I ached inside for genuine love and affection, for the right kind of attention. Maybe a soul is always seeking such things—a haven of peace and rest to feel happy in, a place where we are loved just as we are.

Whether it’s a mud hut or a mansion, I believe a home is more about relationship than bricks and mortar. It should be a safe place, a shelter and sanctuary, though life can be cruel and a family not all you hoped they would be. Ideally, home should be where empty hearts, as well as empty bellies, get filled. A place of belonging, a space to be accepted, be yourself, be loved, and receive a warm welcome that never gets worn out.

As I mull over ways to make room for Jesus in this season, I marvel at God Incarnate making His home on earth, inviting us now to open our hearts and homes to Him. Jesus took on frail human flesh, identified completely with our weakness, and issued an awesome invitation:

God’s home is always open to the hurt and the broken, the lost and the lonely, the homeless and orphaned, the rootless and forgotten, those needing saving from themselves, requiring rescue and release. There is no rejection here, only unconditional love.

Heaven’s only begotten Son becomes our Saviour, Brother, Friend. We are adopted into God’s family, made heirs with Christ, become children of Hope and Promise, as Holy Spirit lives within us. How does this shape our attitude to Advent? We actively remember Jesus coming to earth and we search for signs of Him with us in the here and now.

advent-1-lenton-2

Steep descent

Watch, wait, wonder
and ponder anew
the steep descent
of Love breaking through
to our humanity
bringing light, hope
and clarity to see
how much Father God
desires to be reunited
with you and me

©JoyLenton2016

We look for the Light of His presence in a world growing darker by the day, our hopes ignited by the thought of our Forever Home and Jesus’ glorious reappearing to come. And so we read, reflect, ponder and pray, decorate, celebrate and contemplate the wonder of it all.

Most of all, we make room to receive Jesus anew. Let Him be born again in our thankful hearts. We offer Him a home, a place to feel welcome, a heart journeying ever closer to the spiritual homeland of His presence and a mind engaged more on the heavenly and eternal than the temporary and temporal.

Here’s a helpful link you might like to check out if the practice of lighting Advent candles is new for you, as it is for me. It explains about the candles’ symbolism and suggests why we might enjoy participating in this practice, especially as a family activity. And here’s a lovely Advent candle liturgy from the Godspace archives that you could use as well.

What does the word “home”conjure up for you?

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6 comments

BettieG November 27, 2016 - 11:19 am

Joy, these are such beautiful thoughts for entering the Season of Advent. Your words reminded me of Michael Card’s song from many years ago, “Home,” and these words from the chorus: “And I think that my home is just heaven’s reflection
As long as my home is here with you.” I framed these words in calligraphy for my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary, which was only 1 year before my Father went to be in His true Forever Home with Jesus. Thank you for your words that bring me back to the precious remembering of letting my own home reflect God’s Forever Home.

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Joy Lenton November 27, 2016 - 1:30 pm

Oh what a beautiful thing to do! Your parents must have been deeply touched by your sweet, thoughtful gesture. Yes, our homes are meant to reflect God’s Forever Home, a place of refuge, solace, welcome and love. It’s a great goal to aim at as we seek to live out the Gospel in our neighbourhood and in the world at large. Thank you for stopping by this Godspace community, Bettie. I appreciate your words today. Bless you, dear friend. xo

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jennethsuzanne November 27, 2016 - 1:00 pm

So comforting, reflections of the great love of Jesus in such insightful welcoming ways. Grateful thanks dear Joy for this beautiful piece.

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Joy Lenton November 27, 2016 - 1:32 pm

Dear Jenneth, it warms my heart to think of you receiving comfort through these God-given words. Thank you so much for reading and leaving a kind comment. Bless you, friend! xo

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Shiro November 28, 2016 - 3:42 pm

I stumbled on this site a few moments ago but it was divine intervention for sure. What a beautiful piece of writing this is. Thank you I am renewed with joy and love of Christ. God Bless you.

Reply
Joy Lenton November 29, 2016 - 10:33 am

Hello Shiro, welcome to the Godspace community! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment. I hope and pray you will be blessed anew as you read the great variety of posts we have on offer here from several different writers across the globe. Feel free to make yourself at home, subscribe and dip into the archives. God bless you, friend. 🙂

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