by Rev. Melissa Cooper
LECFamily Program Coordinator
"Are we there yet?" is a phrase that echoes on backseat car windows everywhere, especially around the holidays. As we travel to spend time with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, impatient children recite that refrain again and again, whether from anticipation of arriving at grandma's house, or simply because they are tired of being stuck in a tiny moving cubicle with an energetic sibling.
"Are we there yet?" is a refrain that echoes throughout Christian history this time of year as well. Although most of us begin to celebrate Christmas culturally after Thanksgiving (or even Halloween!), our Christian tradition actually has one more season to celebrate before we begin the 12 days of Christmas on December 25.
Advent is the season that precedes Christmas, this year from December 1 through the 24th. During Advent, although we do look toward celebrating Christ's birth, our primary focus is actually broader, looking toward Christ's return -- toward a time when all things on earth are "as it is in heaven."
So I think of Advent as an "Are we there yet?" holiday -- are we living out God's call on our lives? Are we yet at peace with all of humankind? Are we united in love? I have to say, I don't think we're there ... yet.
And yet, we are reminded at Christmas that heaven has come to earth, once, in the form of a child, a child unlike any other.
This Advent, how are you going to celebrate with your family? How about finding ways to bring a little more heaven to earth together?
Here's a great place to start -- an Advent family devotional from our friends at Vibrant Faith Ministries. You can download it on your computer or on your phone, or print it out for all the family to follow along with.
Are we there yet? Not quite, but the more we seek to look to the child that started it all, the closer we'll be.