Books

The Baptist Girl’s Guide To Advent-A Guest Post

 Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting is now available! For the next few weeks I have invited the members of my “street team”  to share their stories and reflections on the book, the topic of waiting, and Advent. 

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As a northern baptist transplanted in the south fifteen years ago, I can sum up my awareness of advent in about two to three sentences. Somewhere around the beginning of December, light one of four (or is it five?) candles around a wreath, then each week light another. At Christmas, you light the one in the center, and there you have it. Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing: Advent.

Am I off?

Forgive me, it’s been awhile.

advent candle

The church that observed it, though I love that church and its members dearly, preached on that eleven years (and one state) ago. I can barely remember to pick up bathroom tissue from the grocery store, let alone remember an Advent story from a decade ago.

But in recent years, the Advent story has been calling me. Beckoning me. Whispering for me to come closer. To dive deep into the reason and the purpose of Advent. To trade the hustle and bustle of norm for the quietness of the Advent season. This year, especially, my heart longs for a peaceful resting place amid the chaos of the past few years.

Baptists don’t observe Advent as a norm, and when I asked my pastor if I could lead a study on Advent, my request was met with a resounding, “No, because Advent isn’t really a baptist thing, and we don’t want to scare anyone off.” I realized the only way for me to learn more about the season would be to go rogue, and study it on my own. Okay. I can do that. I was determined that this year would be the year I’d dig deeper to unearth the mysteries of this season, and explore it in all its fullness.

And then September happened. Our family moved across town, switched school districts and schools and houses and lives. I knew in the upcoming calendar we’d have football games, two birthday parties, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and then the year would be over. So I did it. I took the entire month of September as a sabbath. A time to rest. To be choosy about the things we signed up for and the events we attend. It was fabulous!

But it came and went entirely too quickly and I realized that I desperately needed more sabbath. I felt as if I’d only scratched the surface of rest. Barely dusted off the corners of my heart that had communed with Jesus during the past month. When Kris shared the opportunity to read Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting, 25 Daily Readings for ADVENT, I jumped.

Here was another chance to welcome rest. But I don’t mean ‘prop your feet up on the couch’ rest. I mean soul-baring, Christ-seeking, Emmanuel-searching true rest. This book quietly asks you to pull back the mask that we wear for others as we invite Jesus into those dusty places in our hearts. It’s an opportunity to exhale in a world that forces you to constantly catch your breath.

Honestly, I hadn’t even realized I was holding my breath. Maybe you don’t realize it either. A world spinning faster and faster with more and more shiny objects holds no place for waiting and patience, but these words from the book’s introduction petitioned my heart:

“What if we slowed ourselves just enough to whisper Come, Lord Jesus, and then gave Him unhurried space to enter into us?”

Yes. Unhurried space. Jesus, enter in.

Come, Lord Jesus.

What time we give the Lord, when we can fit it in, is hurried. It is confined. There’s no room – just as there was no room in Bethlehem – for Him to come in and make the space as He sees fit. The space we give Him in our lives is the leftover barn of His birth, not the space fit for a King. The greatest gift we could ever receive at Christmas is the gift of His presence. The greatest gift we could give Him is the opportunity to dwell, unconfined within us.

Let this year be different. Let this year be the one where we can truly say we experience “the unbridled joy of Christmas, the hope of Immanuel.”

 

karen-sippsGuest Post By

Karen Sipps is a multiple-hat-wearing mama who loves writing for the Lord. She lives in the south with her twins, one cat who hates her, and her knight in shining armor. On her very favorite days, you can find her taking road trips with her family or teaching her kids to cook. You can find her blog at www.KarenSippsWrites.com.

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6 thoughts on “The Baptist Girl’s Guide To Advent-A Guest Post

  1. Karen, I just love this! I also grew up in a Baptist church, but never heard a word about advent other than it was a Catholic thing. And it was left right there! And I do love the church I grew up in, the teaching there gave me an amazing foundation, and I am most thankful for dear Pastor Sears and my amazing Sunday school teachers. I mean no disrespect whatsoever. I am so thankful how Jesus never stops teaching us, and how He has given us the gift of Advent! Happy Christmas to you & yours. ?

    Reply
    1. I know what you mean, Lori! Isn’t that crazy? I sure do love that little church and all the members-turned-family, but I haven’t heard the advent story since then! So glad I could dig deeper this year.

      Reply
  2. I LOVED this post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Advent-so been there. This year will be different because of Kris’ amazing book. And, the fact that you went rogue? Seriously -you would be just the kind of person it would be a joy to study with! ?

    Reply
  3. Karen, I, too had never known the specifics of Advent growing up in a Baptist church. It is a beautiful observance and one that I fully intend to lean into this year. I told Kris that Christmas has never been my favorite holiday, but this year I plan to prepare my heart for it using ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. I eagerly anticipating how Jesus will speak to me in those days. Thank you for a lovely post.

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