I have often wondered what it might have been like the night Christ was born. The star that led the Magi to Jesus is an intriguing element of the Christmas story. What was it? A comet? A supernova? Was it the meeting of the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars that occurs every 800 years? One thing is for sure. It was a star of luminous expectation.
The Magi were astronomers and had been studying the night skies for astral signs hoping for a revelation that they believed would give them insight into life or reveal the future. When the star came, they were prepared for it. While most people slept that night, they were drawn by the brightness of the star and they followed it, they followed it with excitement and expectation, and in so doing they discovered the true meaning behind its light.
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.
Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. Advent is a time of preparation that is marked by prayer. It is that hope, however faint at times, that God, however distant He sometimes seems, hears our prayers and is faithful to us in the promises he made when He sent His Son into the world.
Perhaps you have heard it said, "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he will not be disappointed." What are you preparing for? That makes me wonder, what are you expecting as Christmas approaches? What are you excited about? The richness in our lives is often determined by our expectations. Amen