You are startled awake by the sound of the doorbell. As you get your wits you ask yourself, why is the doorbell ringing, and then you realize it’s your worst nightmare. At the door are twenty of your family members arriving to celebrate the Holiday at your house. What’s bad is not your relatives, but you haven’t cleaned the house, you haven’t gone shopping, and your hair is disheveled and you are in sweatpants and an old t-shirt. This would never happen though, because you would be prepared. When you schedule a family party you mark the calendar, you prepare a menu, you shop for food, arrange the furniture nicely, clean the house, and get yourself dressed and otherwise prepared, to name a few. It makes sense, I bet you would not dispute the need to prepare for house guests but when it comes to other things in life, preparation suddenly becomes optional at best.
This week the church is opening the season of advent, a word that comes from a word meaning, “coming, arrival, or approach.” We are preparing ourselves for the arrival of Jesus on Christmas day. Many might tell you they prepare for this season; they bake cookies, put up decorations, and shop for special food or gifts; but do we prepare our hearts and minds? Our homes may be decorated, and our kitchens may be filled with sweet smells, but are we truly prepared for the arrival of Jesus?
As advent begins this week I want to challenge you to think about preparing yourself and your family during this season. Maybe prepare by working through an advent devotional (some examples: http://images.rca.org/docs/discipleship/Advent2012-DailyDevotions.pdf, http://www.willowcreek.org/advent), helping you to reflect on scripture and prayer in this season. Maybe you have an advent calendar you can hang in your house to provide you daily reminders of the meaning of this season. Preparation even extends to church. I believe that at church we meet God, and connect with him through our worship. Prepare your heart for worship by taking some time to pray in the morning, or on the car ride, or as you arrive at church. In this season of preparation, let’s encourage one another to take time to prepare not just our homes or food, but our hearts and minds as we await the arrival of Jesus.
- What is one way that you plan to prepare in this season?
- Share with a friend or family member about your experience of preparing this advent season.