The true meaning of ADVENT

Advent is a season in the Christian calendar preceding Christmas and also means Second Coming, the return of Jesus to Earth in Christian belief.
What comes to your mind when you think of Christmas?
To many, Christmas means “Pork, holiday, shopping, friends, family, presents, nice smelling Christmas trees, candy- cane- mistle-toe, new clothes, sitting by the fireside, packing old stuffs away, cleaning the house, helping children to plan for next year, Jesus’ Birthday, and so forth.”
Walking around the shops in December will delight you with Christmas decorations, songs, advertisement for the perfect gift and a lot of enticing things. For many people, Christmas time is a time to “feel good”, celebrate, have fun and for some, looking forward to a new year.
Have you ever wondered why the shepherds were the first to hear that heavenly chorus when Jesus was born?
The German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.
Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love. God makes us happy as only children can be happy.”
Luke 2:9 says that the shepherds were terrified when the angels announced the birth of Christ yet they were the first to hear the heavenly chorus bursting forth “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) The concept of Jesus being born in a manger goes beyond the story of Bethlehem. For Christians, everyday should be Christmas. This is what we profess to believe that God became man to dwell among us.
We often sing “Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here” and yet often forget to be still, to be frightened, to be silent to hear His voice.” Christmas is a reminder of His second coming. Each Christmas ought to be a reminder of God’s presence in our midst resulting in fear, trembling, silence and awe.  Then only can we fully understand and be joyful in knowing the good news that Christ is coming back.
In the midst of all our business and excitement, may we never ever lose the true meaning of Christmas. May it not be lost in the gifts, the carols, the meals etc. May we be found trembling like the shepherds so that God’s peace may dwell in us.