The Advent Season

by Michelle Welch

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)

A card I have that makes the Nativity look like a snowglobe
A card I have that makes the
Nativity look like a snowglobe

I spent the morning in my usual state of total “bunny” moments. (For those latecomers, I am easily distracted by events occurring around me or things I see while researching. I can start out to fix breakfast and end up painting the kitchen. Just one of those things. Thus the phrase “Look!  A bunny!) I wanted to write a blog on the Advent Season. It sounded easy enough. You just google the word Advent.  Riiiiiggggggghhhhttttttt. The little note under my question indicated that there were about thirty-one million answers. I had to laugh when I read the word “about”. I guess it’s give or take a thousand or two.

Nativity from Apache Indian tribe.  The father holds the Christ Child in their Nativity scenes.
Nativity from Apache Indian tribe. The father holds the Christ Child in their Nativity scenes.

After two hours spent reading everything from the Catholic Church’s literal description to a blog from a pastor in Texas about Advent, I decided to look up some scriptures. That led me to a scrap of paper I had in my devotion book where I had scribbled some notes on writing about Mary. That led me to looking up scriptures on Mary. Which led me to the manger scene. Which made me wonder what the word Nativity actually means.  See? No wonder my sweetheart just nods his head and smiles when I talk.

Nativity scene
Nativity scene

As those of you who are younger will learn when you get ancient like me, you learn something new every day. If you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. My lesson for today is that the word nativity according to the dictionary means “birth” or “with reference to the place or attendant circumstances: of Irish nativity.”  The change comes when you capitalize the “n”. The word Nativity means the birth of Christ or if used in an artistic way, a representation of the birth of Christ.  Furthermore, I was surprised to learn that it is pronounced “nuh-tiv-i-tee” not “nay-ti-vitee”. Who knew?

Nativity scene painted on a sand dollar
Nativity scene painted on a sand dollar

So I am sure you, dear friends, are asking what on earth all of this has to do with Advent? I know that for many of us, we are feeling a strong pull to regain the Christian symbols of Christmas that we have lost over time. Advent is a four week celebration leading up to the birth, or Nativity of Christ. It has been practiced by Catholics and Christians for over a thousand years.

I am sure many of you have Nativity scenes around. A few more of you may have an Advent wreath. Several of you may have both. Just know that the two are deeply intertwined. For without the Nativity of Christ, there would be no reason to celebrate Advent. Without Advent ending in the celebration of the Birth of Christ, it would just be four more weeks in a year. For Christians who worry about celebrating something that isn’t in the Bible, neither is the word Christmas or Easter. I can’t imagine God being upset with us celebrating anything that makes us focus more on the greatest Gift we have ever been given. The Nativity of Christ. The Birth of our Savior.

Dearest Father God, may we be ever mindful of Your most amazing Gift to us.  May we use the days and weeks before Christmas to dig deeper into Your Word.  To understand more about what makes Christmas so important to us. To make sure that Your Gift is deep within our hearts, ensuring our lives are in tune with Your wishes. Bring hope to those who are hopeless, joy to those who are hurting, light to those who are struggling with the darkness. Help us find what we are missing without losing sight of the joy of the celebration that brings us all together in sharing and in love. In the Name of Your most precious Son, Christ Jesus, Amen.

Copyright © 2011, Michelle Welch, Photography by Michelle Welch. All rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Bible scripture taken from New International Version.

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