Advent: Giving Thanks

In this season of giving, please include a child or adult in need from the community. Your generosity is needed now more than ever. Beginning Saturday, Nov. 22, come to the Giving Tree after the Saturday evening Oasis Contemporary Service and from 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays to select an ornament. The ornament will contain the name, age, gender and gift suggestions for participants provided by various charitable organizations in the Lehigh Valley. A detailed, easy-to-follow instruction sheet will be available at the tree. All gifts should be wrapped and brought to the church on Sunday, Dec. 14 before 11 a.m. Thank you for sharing the joy of Christmas. 

In this season of giving, please include a child or adult in need from the community. Your generosity is needed now more than ever. Beginning Saturday, Nov. 22, come to the Giving Tree after the Saturday evening Oasis Contemporary Service and from 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays to select an ornament. The ornament will contain the name, age, gender and gift suggestions for participants provided by various charitable organizations in the Lehigh Valley. A detailed, easy-to-follow instruction sheet will be available at the tree. All gifts should be wrapped and brought to the church on Sunday, Dec. 14 before 11 a.m. Thank you for sharing the joy of Christmas. 

If you ask Google what advent means, it would say it's "the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event."  If you ask me what Advent means, I wouldn't give you the definition of the word, but rather I'd tell you what the Advent season means to me.  In addition to preparing for the commemoration of Jesus' birth and His second coming, I'd tell you that Advent for me is about a season of reflection, anticipation, thanksgiving, and worship.

First, since Advent falls towards the end of the calendar year, I like to reflect on the year as a whole and praise The Lord for all of the wonderful things He has done in my life, as well as in the lives of my friends and family.  I also look back on some of my shortcomings throughout the year and ask Him for forgiveness and grace in order to course correct for what's ahead.  

In addition to reflecting back on the year that was, I also anticipate the year to come.  I look forward to what He has in store for me and my family, and the plans that He has laid out for us.  Seeing all of the Christmas decorations, lights, trees, and so on certainly triggers moments of joy and happiness inside me, but those things are all temporary.  Knowing that The Lord has big plans for my family and I, coupled with the anticipation of what those plans are, helps to give me an everlasting feeling of joy and happiness.

Giving thanks is also very meaningful to me during Advent.  My wife, Dana, and I like to give back in a number of ways throughout the year, and especially during the time of Advent.  Whether it's helping a few families in need that we picked off of the Giving Tree at FPCB, or adopting a local family that is unable to purchase any presents for their children and purchasing the presents for them, we like to give thanks for all the The Lord has provided us by helping those in need.  After all, Jesus often sought out those in need in the Bible, and He is faithful to provide and comfort my family and I when we are in need, so we feel giving back to others is the least we can do to give Him thanks.

Lastly, I love to continue to worship and praise The Lord during the season of Advent.  The words spoken in the sermons, the songs that are sung, the testimonies that are given, and the fellowship with others both inside and outside the church give me an overwhelming sense of comfort and delight knowing that our God is not dead and that He is alive and very well.  Jesus Christ came to this world to save those that were lost and offer hope to the hopeless (among many other things), and it's evident to me that He continues to do that today.  So as the season of Advent approaches, I look forward to reflecting on this past year, anticipating what He has planned for the coming year, the countless opportunities to give thanks, and the continuation of praise and worship.  That is what Advent means to me.

About the Author

Eric has lived in the Lehigh Valley his entire life and married his wife Dana at FPCB in 2004, where they became members shortly thereafter. Eric is a regular at the Saturday evening Oasis Contemporary service and frequently helps out with media slides, ushering, hospitality, communion, and leading the prayer of confession. Eric has 2 children, Sawyer and Gannon who he enjoys spending as much time with as possible. In addition to spending time with his family, Eric also enjoys running, camping, music, and tinkering with the latest and greatest consumer electronics.