I believe the focus of Advent should be on the incarnation, the birth narratives, and the prophecies. I believe that if the preacher mines the gold that is in these stories and prophecies, and focuses on the incarnation: God-with-us, and on the purposes for which Jesus came to live our lives on this earth there will be years and years of preaching possibilities and lessons to be learned.
My spouse believes that the focus of Advent should be on the second coming and salvation. The incarnation seems to be a been-there-done-that sort of thing for him, but he firmly believes that during Advent we should focus on preparing ourselves for the second coming, and on bringing our neighbors and friends into a salvific relationship with Jesus Christ. I figure there are lots of opportunities through the year to do that, but only a few weeks to talk about Jesus' coming, why Jesus came, and how we should live our lives because of that.
The one thing we agree on is that Advent is a time of preparation. Preparing our homes, our churches, our communities, our hearts, and our minds to draw closer to God. A friend refers to it as a time of pregnant expectation, although it doesn't last 9 months. Whether you're preparing for the coming or the return I encourage you to take time this Advent season to prepare yourself. Don't let the busy-ness of the season disrupt you from your own preparation. We, like Mary, need time to ponder all these things, and keep them in our hearts.
Oh, God, who is with us in all our days, we pray to you during this Advent season that we might be drawn closer to you. We pray that you grant us quiet, peaceful times that we might ponder your great love for us, and learn again what it means to be your children. May we be strengthened by the knowledge that you understand us because you have lived our life, and you know what it means to be human. And during Advent and throughout the year keep ever before us the needs of your people, and creative ways we can begin to help meet some of those needs.....Amen.