Welcome to the Chase family celebration of Advent – 24 days of devotional thoughts leading up to Christmas. This tradition has gone on in our home for over thirty years but this is the first time I am sharing the tradition with a larger circle of friends and colleagues by means of my website. Each year the overall theme varies, but my desire from the beginning has always been to prepare our family for the full joy of Christmas.
The theme for this year is “The First Advent.”
The first season of Advent was not 24 days or even a few weeks in a random December two thousand years ago. The first Advent was nine months long as Mary anticipated the birth of her child.
Over the next weeks, we’ll ask the following question: What emotions did the mother of Jesus experience as she moved through those nine months of pregnancy and how do her emotions relate to our own lives?
To begin, look at Luke’s account. In Luke 1:26,27 we find Mary living quietly in a village in Galilee. She is engaged to marry Joseph. Her family is busy planning for the wedding. Everything is moving forward for Mary, progressing in an orderly fashion. She faces a routine life as an average woman married to an ordinary craftsman in a small town. Nothing unusual here. Mary is feeling…secure.
That is a point I have often overlooked. For me, the story of Mary always began with the angel’s appearance. I forget that she had a life, she had dreams, she had plans before that angel showed up. And God interrupted all her plans and dreams. He intruded on her space.
A week or two ago, God reordered my day. A client canceled an appointment, so instead of heading to her home, I decided to start my Christmas shopping. But while I wandered at the mall, my cell phone rang. Another friend was deeply discouraged. Freed from my earlier agenda, I was able to go through the check-out line, drive a short distance and be with my friend ten minutes later.
For me, the new agenda involved a single afternoon. But for Mary it was her entire life.
Are you caught up in the routine cycle of life this year? Going to work? Doing the laundry? Shopping for Christmas? Wrapping packages? Be alert! 1 Thess. 5:6 tells us, “Be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober.” God may step into your path at any moment and turn your world upside down!