Christmas time is here. Our decorations are up and lit, hums of Christmas tunes fill the air, and the feelings and memories of Christmas past ring in our souls. We are filled with joy and childish reversion. And just as we long for the the holiday cheer of vacations, families, and presents, we long to once again hear the story of the Christ Child come.

A new year has begun. It is the first week of Advent, the beginning of the Church Year. We join the children of Israel as they wait for their King to come and save. It wasn't eggnog and ornaments for them. They desperately longed for deliverance from years of torment and injustice. Remembering promises and prophesies of the coming Messiah, they cried out to Yahweh. It's hard for us to worship in this way. We desperately long for the newest fashion line and video game system and cry if we don't get what we want.

Hear what Christopher L. Webber has to say in his Introduction to Love Came Down: Anglican Readings for Advent and Christmas:

In our culture, the time before Christmas is a time of celebration, gift-giving, and parties. The sooner the fun can start the better. It's easy to overlook the significance of Advent in the rush of Christmas shopping. Advent requires some deep thought on serious subjects, and it's harder to sell these themes than Christmas presents at the mall. So Christians who take Advent seriously find themselves looking strangely out of step. Around them the party has started, but they are still in a solemn time of preparation, considering "the shortness and uncertainty of human life." (vii)

Let us not forget the penitential side of Advent; that we are sinners, deprived of goodness, and in need of a Savior. As we worship Christ this season, let us cry out to Yahweh for salvation, and let us praise Him with the best kind of Christmas cheer, the joy of redemption through Christ. Our Advent worship is, in the words of Bob Webber, "joyful sorrow."

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