Home For The Holidays: A Conversation on Family Renewal – Advent 2023 Lesson One

Cultivating Hope and Restoring Bonds

As we step into this Advent season, the atmosphere is charged with anticipation, much like the yearning expressed by the Prophet Isaiah in the scripture, “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1-9, KJV). It’s not just a time for personal spiritual renewal but a season that holds the promise of restoring the very fabric of our families.

In the midst of our waiting, the call to family renewal echoes through the Advent candle. It’s a reminder from Mark 13 to be watchful, for the master of the house could come at any moment. This Advent, let’s not only anticipate the return of our Lord but also recognize the intimate connection between His arrival and the restoration of our families.

In this season of Advent, let’s embrace the call to be watchful—not just for the return of our Lord but also for the subtle opportunities to mend strained relationships within our homes. The urgency of the season is mirrored in the words of Mark 13:35 (KJV), “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.”

As Advent unfolds, we find ourselves immersed in a time of reflection and preparation. It’s not just about decorating our homes or planning festive gatherings; it’s about turning our hearts towards the essence of the season. Are we ready to welcome Christ into our homes? Can we embark on a journey of family renewal, shedding old grievances and fostering a spirit of unity?

In the quiet moments of reflection, Psalm 80:3 (KJV) resonates: “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” The family altar becomes more than a physical space—it transforms into the epicenter of our renewal. As we gather with our families during the holidays, let’s bring our brokenness before the Lord, seeking His face for the healing of our relationships.

Family prayer emerges as a powerful tool for creating unity. In unity, we find the strength to mend bonds, extend forgiveness, and rekindle love. The family altar, often neglected in the hustle of daily life, becomes a sacred space where we collectively seek the face of God for the restoration of our familial ties.

The unexpected nature of Christ’s coming, highlighted in Mark 13, parallels the unpredictability of the holiday season in our families. As we navigate through the festivities, let’s live in readiness—being open to God’s surprises, embracing the unexpected with faith, and allowing it to be a catalyst for renewal.

In the hustle and bustle of life, the essence of our existence lies in relationships. Family is not just an important aspect; it is everything. As we await Christ’s return, let’s recognize the enduring significance of family bonds. This involves investing time, effort, and love into the relationships that matter most, turning our homes into sanctuaries where the Holy Spirit can work to mend and renew our familial ties.

So, as Advent unfolds its pages, let’s engage in a conversation—a conversation with our families, with our faith, and with the divine. Let our homes truly become “Home for the Holidays,” where prayer, reflection, and vigilance seamlessly weave into the fabric of renewal. In this season and beyond, may our homes stand as testimonies to the transformative power of Christ’s love, a love that not only renews us individually but also restores the bonds that make our families whole.