“Do you not know that you are the temple of God…?” (1 Cor. 3:16, NKJV, bold emphasis mine)
“‘…The Desire of All Nations shall come to this Temple, and I will fill this place with my glory,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Hag. 2:7, TLB, bold emphasis mine).
Has it happened to you multiple times, as it has happened to me, that after all the build-up to Christmas, you feel a letdown when it’s over?
May I propose a reason for this? Jesus, not Christmas, is the fulfillment of our deepest longings. I have found that the more He empowers me to stay centered on Him through the Christmas season, the more I enjoy Christmas… and the more the glow lasts after it ends.
This weekend, Advent began. Advent literally means “coming,” originating from the Latin word Adventus. It was originally a forty day period of fasting to prepare new believers for baptism in January during the feast of Epiphany.
While I am not necessarily suggesting that you and I spend the next few weeks fasting, I think there is something to draw from the roots of our traditions. What if we spend Advent in contemplative preparation for encountering Him in an even deeper way this Christmas than ever before?
The 25th of December, we will celebrate the first coming (advent) of Jesus into our world, into our lives. As we read in Haggai’s prophecy above, Jesus is the Desire of All Nations. Holy Spirit promised through that oracle, many centuries ago, that the fulfillment of our longings would come. That night in Bethlehem, He did. He came. He is here. Immanuel. God with our own flesh and blood. God wrapped up intimately in our most agonizing pain and our most soaring joys. God at our level, in our own heart’s language. God with us.
Here is here. The Spirit of Jesus is here with us now. He is immeasurably closer than the air moving in and out of your lungs. He is immeasurably nearer than the blood pumping rhythmically through your veins. Let’s let ask Him for a heightened awareness of His closeness this Advent season. Let’s ask Him to manifest Himself to us as we move through all the holiday festivities. Let’s purposefully stop and breathe Him in, even in the midst of our shopping, decorating, and preparing our homes. Let’s invite His presence into every single activity that we partake in… leading up to and including Christmas Day.
Let’s make our Advent all about the Desire of All Nations. Let’s ask Him to come into His temple and fill us with His glory.
“Even so, Lord, come…”
What are your strategies for working space for contemplation into the busyness of the Christmas season?