Welcome friends, to this season of Advent 2020.
The calendar arrangement this year already has us scurrying from the start. Thanksgiving leftovers are still in the fridge and today we set our hearts toward the manger. As crazy at it seems, typing those last few words welcomes my heart to settledness and hope.
One of my favorite authors, Walter Wangerin Jr., in his Advent book Preparing for Jesus says:
As a season of the Christian year, Advent is ancient. It goes back at least to the middle of the sixth century. Already then its observance defined not only the One who was coming, but also those who were faithfully and self-conscious waiting. It defined the peculiar people who looked forward to the coming of that One.
I love that! How can we intentionally set our hearts toward being the peculiar people who look forward to the coming of Jesus?
We become those people who look forward to the coming of Jesus when we are remembering people. We read the stories again and imagine what it was like for those who waited with expectation for their promised Messiah. We watch the miracle unfold as God became flesh, and we learn how to wait with hope and longing for Jesus to come again. As we return our thoughts to the prophets who foretold his birth, the faith of Mary and Joseph and the stories that gave them hope, the shepherds, the wisemen, the star, and the manger, may our hearts be calmed and our affections stirred toward Jesus.
Have you had a chance to read or listen to A Manger in the Middle of a Family Reunion (Week One, Day One from Wrapped in Grace) yet this year?
How will you carve out time to remember the miracle this season?
I am sleeping on the plane tonight! Wrapped in Grace is being printed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, my hometown, and the books are scheduled to be ready for pick up on Tuesday. If I take the red-eye, I will arrive in GR Tuesday morning and be at the printer when the books are ready. Why am I traveling from my home in Tempe, Arizona to pick the books up instead of just having them shipped here? Well, a few reasons:
- The first Sunday of Advent is November 29th and I really want to get a book in your hands before then. If I can ship to you from Grand Rapids this week, instead of waiting for books to arrive here in AZ just to put them back in the mail, you will get a book a lot faster.
- A bunch of the books are actually staying in Grand Rapids for family and friends, I would love to give those out in person.
- If you are in the West Michigan area and would like to get a book while I am there, please join me for a cup of hot chocolate and to get your copy of Wrapped in Grace:
Friday, November 20
4:00 – 7:30 PM
151 Lakeside Dr
Grand Rapids, Mi 49506
- Plus, my family is in West Michigan and it is always nice to see them.
Wrapped in Grace is a retelling of the Christmas story from a little bit of a new perspective, with daily readings and space to journal. It is designed to be read during the four weeks leading up to Christmas beginning on the 4th Sunday before Christmas. (This year, Advent begins on November 29th). I will post video readings here throughout the Advent season, and there will be space to connect and respond to the readings here if you would like to.
Thanks for joining me as we celebrate the season of Jesus’ birth!