This might be the first season since having kids that I have actual presents wrapped and under the tree 11 days before Christmas. Usually, I’m scrambling 5 days before, settling on trinkets that break before the new year.
Each year, I promise myself to slow down and savor the season, and each year I end up caught in the hustle and bustle of Christmas parties, white elephant gifts, ugly sweater purchases, and fulfilling my kids’ wish lists. The guilt sets in deep with the nagging feeling that I’ve failed to keep my promise yet another year.
My mind plays like an incessant commercial break: memories of my own childhood Christmases, the anticipation, the joy of unwrapping treasures, and the hope of seeing the same look in my children’s eyes.
Will they like what they get?
Will they be disappointed in the number of gifts?
Is it enough?
I want to exceed their expectations. I want them to be so delighted in what they receive that they burst with gratitude, not (only) for my benefit, but for theirs too.
Gratitude is good for us. The presents, however, fulfill for a moment but fade with time and break down from use. There’s always something shinier to anticipate for the next occasion.
Praise God that He is a much better promise-keeper and gift-giver than I could ever be. 1 Corinthians 1:20 tells us, “All the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in (Jesus).” God the Father gave God the Son to be the fulfillment of every promise made to his people.
Advent reminds us that we’re all collectively in this season of anticipation – waiting for this perfect promise-maker, promise-keeper, and fulfillment of every heart’s desire.
Leading People to See Christ
As worship leaders, Advent gives us the amazing opportunity to help our people look up from the shards of our own broken promises and unfulfilled desires to see the only one who always keeps his promises and fulfills every desire perfectly.
We have the distinct honor of leading the church in acknowledging our own frailty, while pointing to God’s sufficiency. We lift eyes from self to Jesus, who came in humility and will come again in victory to make all things new. In the midst of the season’s hustle and bustle, we are pointing people to him. And it starts with us looking at him ourselves.
Take time to slow down in this crazy season and thank God that he keeps all his promises to us in Christ. That he gives us every good and perfect gift – even the means to buy gifts, and the people to buy them for. But above all, he gives us himself.
He is our greatest promise and present.