This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and its theme is “LOVE.” The four Advent Sundays are meant to be the focal points of a season of spiritual reflection and preparing one’s self to experience new ways each year the hope, peace, joy and love God offers to us. These are represented by the four outer candles of the Advent Wreath. In the center of the Advent wreath is the Christ Candle representing God’s greatest gift who brings these wonderful gifts into our lives.
Unfortunately, we often miss making these gifts a reality in our lives because we get so caught up in the secular meaning of Christmas, buying, giving and exchange gifts. I love give gifts for Christmas, but now they are mostly cash or check and no one has ever complained about those gifts.
I stopped Christmas shopping in 2013 when “the apple of my eye,” Savion, died from leukemia. I started Christmas shopping again last year (2018) when “the peach of my heart,” Ari’ella, had had her first birthday in November. And yes, I’ve already finished shopping for her this year.
However, I haven’t finished shopping for me. But what I desire cannot be found in a store; but rather in God’s storehouse. The assigned text from Isaiah 7 for this Sunday says: (v.14), “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall name Him Emmanuel.” Emmanuel means “God with us.” I’m shopping this Advent to experience and know God presence with me more than ever before.
So, this Advent I’m preparing for a renewal in me of “The Greatest Gift of Love” that was given that first Christmas, “Emmanuel, God with us!” I pray that you will also add that to your shopping list as we prepare for a new decade.
Join us at Covenant this Sunday on a spiritual shopping trip of “Preparing for the Greatest Gift of Love.” That’ will be the title of my sermon based on “Isaiah 7:14-16” and “Matthew 1:18-25.”