Many of you who are reading this followed my lenten daily blog last spring. I had been toying with the idea of jumping in again at during the Advent season since there are so many wonderful topics to blog about and affirmation to do this came from my young friend Makenna as she excitedly shared with me what she was giving up for Advent the other evening. As you read this, you might think, you don't give things up for Advent - that's Lent! But actually she had it right. Advent really is supposed to be more like Lent!
If you are reading this, don't panic, but just come along with me for this hike The early church orginally intended for Advent to be a time of spiritual preparation, of digging deep within your heart to see how you need to be ready for the birth (INCARNATION - a theological term to unpack on a different day!) of God who came to earth in living form for the purpose of OUR salvation. (Lent is designed to prepare new believer's to join the church and to also remind us of Christ's preparations for His earthly ministry.)
Just ponder John 1:14 in the Message translation:
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
So while we all nicely say we are "getting ready" for Christmas as we put up decorations, purchase gifts, send cards and bake cookies; we really are just piling all those things on the top or our hearts which, really, I can say this about my own heart, NEED A THOROUGH CLEANING OUT DURING THIS TIME OF YEAR!
I am NOT GOING TO FAST for ADVENT THOUGH, and I hope my friend Makenna and each of you don't either. What I am going to do is spend time with God - before the outward preparations (which I also enjoy - IN MODERATION!) - to prepare my heart, my mind and my spirit for more of what God reveals and keeps revealing until He comes again. Will you join me during this next month on this journey?
As I begin this journey, as I did the Lenten one, I am not sure where it will lead. I am simply being obedient to begin the path. I invite you to join me and seek God's call in your own life to make thing ready for His Coming ANEW deep within our being.
(I also begin a new journey in my ministry calling as I write this. Tomorrow I will deliver the first message in a season of interim ministry at Zion United Church of Christ in Ragersville. I seek your prayers for these messages and this congregation as we walk together to Bethlehem this year.)
A PRAYER -
Lord - Even as we linger at the abundant table from our thanksgiving feast, we pray that we begin to prepare and examine our lives, still giving thanks for everything we encounter, but allowing You to make us ready for the Coming of Your Son. We remember the infant born in Bethlehem and the Bridegroom of your church who will come again just as You have said to begin our eternity with you.