These are words of a season leading up to Christmas Day. Christmas in the Christian church means even more when we practice waiting. During Advent we take seriously a time preparing to celebrate the fact the God brought Jesus into the world. We do this time of preparing in a number of ways. We sing songs that say O Come O Come Emmuel! We hear scriptures and sermons that speak about what will be coming in what God is doing.
And why wait?
Because on Christmas Eve it means so much more when we light the Christ Candle and sing Silent Night…Christ Our Savior is born!
In the Christian faith, we deal with a discipline of waiting because of the tension we live with. Apostle Paul speaks in his letters about the times we live with in the church. It is a time of waiting. Jesus came into the world and blessed the world and then through His death and resurrection gave us the gift of salvation. And as Jesus ascended he promised that one day He would return. His return and completion of the Kingdom of God is what we are still waiting and watching for in our faith. So we practice waiting during Advent as well as Lent in the time leading up to Easter.
As part of worship, I love lighting the candles of the Advent wreath. The purple candles symbolize Hope, Peace, Love, And Joy. Then we light the white candle on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some churches use blue candles to symbolize the royalty of Jesus in the Kingdom of God.
This year Christmas Day falls on a Sunday which only happens about 7-8 years. Christmas Eve will be on Saturday night. It is going to be a complicated for preachers and planners. Because we know that people in their families will be upholding their family Christmas traditions of opening presents and staying home. This is the clash we struggle with for the church in conflict with a world that is increasingly more secular than sacred. What will we do in the church to bring meaning and bridge the gap?
In my church we will invite children to come to worship in pjs. We will have a blessing of toys because we want to dedicate our play as holy before the Lord.
As Mike Slaughter famously teaches, Christmas is not Your Birthday! We honor the birth of our savior Jesus by waiting watching and dedicating the season and what we give and receive to Jesus the new born King!
Why not…Wait and See!
Reverend Kyle Kiner is currently serving as Lead Pastor of Henryetta First United Methodist church. Kyle is married to Jennie and they have two children. He enjoys playing golf and watching premier Star Wars movies in 3D with Rev. Matt Franks.