The word advent means coming or arrival. At the time of Jesus' birth, the Jewish people were waiting with anticipation for the Messiah. And they had been waiting a long time. Through years of exile and captivity, they had held tightly to the promise of the one who would come to establish God’s kingdom forever. The coming of the Messiah was an event that was defined by excitement.
For many of us, Christmas has lost that sense of joy. The overwhelming anticipation for the savior has been replaced with the stress of making last minute purchases, the preparations for awkward family interaction, or, at best, the recognition of an event that took place 2000 years ago. But this was not just some event; this was the inauguration of the kingdom of God. Jesus was coming to earth to establish Himself as the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Advent is about the anticipation of Jesus coming (marveling at the way that He came, and what He came to do (love). It is about remembering what part we play in this story, as the sinners that made His death necessary. It is about preparing our hearts for His coming (peace). More than anything else, it is about celebrating how great our God is (joy).
Christmas Eve - JOY