Walk into any store and it’s clear retailers are now ready for Christmas. Ready that is to make money off it. Many no longer even call it Christmas. For them, the “holiday season” as it’s called, is simply a time for making profits. What is this time of year for you? Advent begins in just one month. If you would like to have a Christ focused Christmas this year, then begin your preparation by making Advent more meaningful.
Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation. Having a good Christmas starts with having a meaningful Advent. There are many ways to have a meaningful Advent, today I would like to invite you to consider one.
Have you ever noticed how God has used food, specifically bread, throughout human history to feed and nourish His people? When it comes to Christmas, we all know food plays a big part in the celebration. It is nearly impossible to think of Christmas without thinking about food. This year during Advent, I encourage you to reflect on how God is calling you to become part of the feast.
You likely have already begun to think about your Christmas meal. You probably know where you will be eating. You may already know what will be served. When we eat together, we “break bread” together. Each time we share a meal, we share in communion with those who are eating with us.
At Christmas each year, we celebrate Jesus’ entry into our world. Have you ever noticed the interesting correlation between His incarnation and life and the story of the road to Emmaus?
Jesus was just a stranger as He walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). However, after entering the home of one of those disciples, Jesus who was the guest, became the host. He, who at first was unrecognizable, now offers them bread. As He takes it, blesses it, breaks it and shares it with them, their eyes are opened, and they recognize Him. Then as soon as they knew it is Jesus, He disappeared.
In a similar way, at the first Christmas Jesus who was once a stranger, enters the world as “the bread that came down from Heaven” (John 6:41). This bread from Heaven came in the form of an infant child. Even though for a while, He has now disappeared from our view, He has revealed Himself to us and remains with us in the form of bread that is shared.
Bread has had a place of importance throughout Scripture. The bread of the Presence is mentioned in Exodus 25:30. It was always present on a table in the tabernacle and later in the temple. God fed the Jews with manna. Jesus fed thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus gave Himself to His apostles at the Last Supper in the form of bread. Finally, as stated above, He revealed Himself to the men on the road to Emmaus in the breaking of bread. Jesus continues to be with us to this very day in the breaking of bread.
Before inviting others to our home for a Christmas meal, we clean and prepare our house. When we invite Jesus into our life, He willingly enters even though we are still a broken mess. In fact, He comes to do the cleaning for us. He comes to us as the bread of life. Those who eat the bread that He gives will live forever.
Let’s pray that during this season of Advent we will hear God’s call and accept our role to also become “bread that is broken for others.” He has chosen us, He has blessed us with His mercy, He knows that we are broken and yet He sends us out with His good news to be shared with others. Sadly, many of us are too scared to accept this role.
I want to extend a very special invitation to you. I am inviting you to join me and others at a very special Advent retreat in Hickory, NC on December 6-8, 2019. This relaxing spiritual, getaway will offer you a unique opportunity to begin your Advent journey. Together, we will explore the necessary steps to move from living life as blessed, broken and scared people to becoming blessed, broken and shared Christians.
You have probably already begun to buy Christmas presents, plan for Christmas parties and think about your Christmas meal. Now consider adding this event to your schedule. Break free from the holiday chaos for a calming and meaningful Advent retreat.
If time restrictions, distance or cost prevent you from joining us in Hickory NC, I am still inviting you to begin planning your Advent now. Seek out a retreat in your area or perhaps a Scriptural study guide to guide you though the Advent season. A well-planned Advent will prepare us all to have a Christ focused Christmas.
Heavenly Father, please send forth your Holy Spirit to guide and direct me during this upcoming Advent Season so that I will be better prepared to celebrate your Son’s birth when Christmas Day finally arrives. Amen.
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Don’t forget to mark your calendars
On December 6-8, 2019, I will be leading a 3 day Advent Retreat. Catholics as well as non-Catholics are welcome to attend. Fr. Ed Sheridan will join us to celebrate Catholic mass and Reconciliation will be available. Author Joseph Galloway will be giving a talk about his book The Broken Door and will be signing books. The retreat is being held at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, NC. It’s beautiful! I hope you can join us. Click this link to sign up.