Berean Blog

Advent: The Celebration - Honoring the Savior

Advent is the anticipation and celebration of the greatest birth in all human history. How do you celebrate? Do you play the trumpet, invent a dance, sing at the top of your lungs, write a poem, or shout from the housetops? Or, do you celebrate more quietly and internally by simply reflecting on God's promises?

by Roger Thompson on December 07, 2021


People communicate in different ways. There are different vocabularies, speeds, and volumes. Some folks are loud and emotional while others are quiet and reserved. Some have a short-term perspective while others consider the distant implications. Some want closure and conclusions while others want to keep exploring new perspectives.

These differences are never more evident than when we celebrate. We all have our own way of bringing energy to a special event or person. Some are what I would describe as “share-your-feelings” celebrators. They feel deeply and celebrate passionately. However, many people are “just-the-facts” celebrators. They are concentrated on what to think, how to assess, and how to sum up what has just happened. They report the facts, for which they are thankful, but without much emotional amplitude.

The "Share-Your-Feelings" Kind of Celebrators

We see this difference in styles of celebration in the birth narrative of Jesus. It seems that Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, were the “share-your-feelings" kind of celebrators. Mary’s song (Luke 1:46-55) is so expressive, and straight from the heart: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . . He who is mighty has done great things for me . . . He has exalted those of humble estate.” Mary exudes the emotional, personal, and national joy of the birth of the Savior.

Zechariah is also effusive and celebrates in a similar fashion: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people . . . And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways . . . the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness.”

These are the poets and the songwriters. These are the celebrators who bring color, music, and beauty to the occasion.

The "Just-the-Facts" Type of Ponderers

Some, however, celebrate in a quieter, more internal way. They are the “just-the-facts” type of ponderers who love the way events have vindicated the bigger design of God. Such are Simeon and Anna in Luke chapter 2 (Luke 2:25-38). They celebrate, but not so much with emotion as with a settled sense of God’s vindication of his promises. They love the fact of God’s acting out the plan of salvation in real-time.

Simeon was waiting for the “consolation of Israel”— a time when God’s people would be comforted and restored. His celebration is one of deep gratitude and satisfaction in the completion of God’s plan: "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

Anna’s response is given only a few words in Scripture, but certainly this does not totally express the joy in her heart. After living in the temple for sixty years, praying and fasting for the coming Messiah, it says of her response to the birth of Jesus: “She began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Anna was joyful over the birth of Jesus, but she was also thankful to see the greater movement of God in bringing about his promised redemption. The huge reality of the breaking in of God into actual history was something that brought deep assurance to her long-held faith.

What kind of celebrator are you?

So how do you celebrate? Advent is the anticipation and celebration of the greatest birth in all human history. Do you play the trumpet, invent a dance, sing at the top of your lungs, write a poem, or shout from the housetops? Go for it! The inbreaking Lord prompts the most exuberant expressions of our joy. Or, do you celebrate by tracing the history of salvation, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the sovereign movements of the Most High to deliver this Savior on this day? For you, this celebration is to refresh your mind with the fingerprints of God seen in retrospect as he faithfully brought history to a climax with Jesus’ birth. Your mind is satisfied, and gratitude flows.

No matter how you are wired for celebration, you will find ample opportunity during this Advent season. It’s a time of preparation and readiness to honor the Savior.

So, whether you are an expressive or a contemplative type of person, there is a depth of truth and beauty that can never be exhausted by our fresh celebration. In fact, Heaven will be one endless celebration as we worship and adore the One who saved us by his coming and his sacrifice.

Whatever you do, be sure to honor the Savior!

I can’t require that everyone celebrate the way that comes most naturally to me. Just be sure to enjoy the gifts and the perspectives of other members of your family and the body of Christ. The key posture is readiness and alertness to receive what God has done. Open both your heart and your mind. Make this Advent your gift of wonder and gratitude to the Newborn King, however you choose to celebrate! 

Read More about Advent:



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