It’s Advent, and I’m looking for Jesus to come!
The season is a preparation for Christmas, the celebration of God coming into the world in human flesh, making His home among us. We celebrate and confess the Scriptures’ truth that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.
The miracle and mystery of God coming to earth in humanity is why we need Advent, too.
The word “Advent” means “Coming.” Our Bible readings each Sunday in church will tell of various times Jesus entered to be among the people. He’ll ride into Jerusalem. He’ll step from the crowd into the Jordan to be baptized by John, His forerunner.
We’ll also hear about His second Advent, His second Coming, when He will judge the living and the dead. This teaching of the second Advent leaves us awestruck — and also lets us think of a simple truth: Jesus was promised and prophesied for thousands of years, then at the right time He came in person. So if He promised and it is prophesied that He will come a second time, He is able to do it — at the right time and in person. Advent, among its many themes, would have us look toward Jesus’ second coming, and always be ready.
The best way to prepare for that final Advent is to prepare to welcome Jesus at Christmas. To welcome Him to our world. To welcome Him to our church. To welcome Him into our homes. To start by welcoming Him into our hearts. This kind of Advent observance becomes a way of life in which we are always looking to Him and will never be unprepared for His coming.
As we long for His coming, we ask Him to abide with us when it is evening. We ask Him to shepherd us as we embark on every new day’s work. And on His day of rest, He presents Himself to us so personally in His divine, inerrant, life-changing Word, the Bible; or tenderly and substantively in the Meal at His altar, as He promised.
We seek Him for every need of our lives of body and soul. We desire Him with us. Yet, when we take stock of ourselves, we realize that our heart-house is not properly cleaned and straightened for our Guest. This is God’s Holy Spirit bringing us to repentance, and He sees to it that we are cleansed to the standards of the Guest and God whom we seek to welcome aright, and who alone can do such cleansing.
I love Advent. If it is true that so much of a trip’s enjoyment is in the journey, then Advent is the Journey, Christmas the destination. I love enjoying gifts and candy canes and lights on trees. I am reminded by each of the Gift of a Savior, Shepherd and Light of the World. Here at Martini, our choir will host a dinner of fellowship and carols and Santa and collecting hats/scarves/gloves for the needy. The natural Advent wreath will fill the church with its aroma, and the candles will count the weeks with increasing light to December 25. Our congregation will make available Christmas baskets and toys for up to thirty families, and youth will pack them. Trees will arrive from the woods, and we will light and decorate them to the glory of God.
And amid the joy of preparation, I need the time to stop and reflect. Jesus’ journey was to earth, and His destination, specifically, was the cross, where He would take my sins and yours and the world’s, and accomplish the reason for His coming — to be Savior [“Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled”].
I need to prepare and be cleansed and re-experience the closeness of the Lord and take time to appreciate what His personally-sent, fully delivered Saving Grace is all about. So do you!
For those in the Martini Lutheran Church area, our three midweek Advent devotional services are meant to help with that. They are December 5, 12, and 19, from 6:45 – 7:30. Come, and be blessed!
Happy Advent. Let’s walk the days together, looking and preparing for Jesus to come!