Is it me or does the Advent season seems to arrive suddenly and then in the blink of an eye Christmas is here?! All of a sudden you find yourself at the Christmas Midnight Service wondering how your time to prepare for Christ so easily slipped through your fingers.
Darn! You had promised yourself that this Advent would be different. You wouldn’t be caught by surprise, yet again! You had great intentions to make this Advent season very different from last. But already you can feel it happening again. Good intentions that quietly slip away….
However, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can make the conscious choice—right here, right now—to stop in your busy tracks and embrace the season of Advent; and its purpose. Advent is a season of preparing. Mary had to prepare herself for huge changes in her life with the first coming. We need to prepare ourselves and truly be ready for His second coming.
Here are some ideas that might help!
1. Prepare room at the Inn: Your heart is where Christ wishes to dwell and Advent is the perfect time to make room in it for His presence. If your heart is filled with unforgiveness, it has no room for Christ. The Bible says ‘examine yourself’, might I suggest that there is no better thing to do at the start of Advent. This season why not ask God to reveal to you any unforgiveness that exists in your heart. Remember that as God has forgiven you, you are also asked to forgive others.
2. Clean out the cobwebs: Next it is important to clean out any cobwebs that may still be lurking in the dark corners of your heart. We often need help to identify the cobwebs that we may not be see on our own, those things we hide away that need dealing with, typically ones that have been hanging on for so long they no longer get your attention.
3. Hang new curtains: So if your Advent heart is now ready with unforgiveness and the cobwebs have been cleared out, now is the time to hang new curtains! Many of us fall into a rut in our daily lives and forget how to live in joy. You are preparing for Christ’s indwelling and He abides best in those who have joy in their hearts. So throw out the old curtains of fear and despair and exhaustion and hang new curtains of hope and joy and anticipation.
4. Get out the fine china and set the table: Company is on its way! This is not a time to think ‘maybe’ He’s going to drop by and so only deserves superficial efforts to get ready. We are certain in our belief of His arrival and every cell in our body joyfully shouts, “He’s on His way!” This is the time we get the fine china out of the cupboard, our attitude is one of enthusiastic expectation and our hearts should pound in anticipation of His coming presence.
5. And then……breathe: All the work is finished and we are ready. So in preparing our hearts for Christ this Advent, the last step after all the prep work is to simply take a breathe and “be.” In this state of “be-ing” we don’t question how time slipped through our fingers; we don’t worry if there was more we should have done. We’ve been good and faithful servants and are ready for Christ.
May your heart be made ready for Christ, may your Advent season be a blessed one and when Christmas arrives, may ‘Emmanuel’ come to you in way you may have never thought possible!!
Christmas Blessings to you all….
Your friend and Pastor………Jerry
Rev. Neal Stanton
Look out for Neal’s thoughts in January.