It's that time of the year again, when Christians are preparing for the celebration of Christ's birth.
A popular custom among many Christians is Advent, a time of preparation leading up to Christmas, and also symbolizing how we wait for Christ's Second Coming.
This time of year especially reflects life in general. We wait for God to work in our lives-daily.
Anyone who's had a family member go through an illness can understand this. We wait for news; good or bad, what can be done, how financial needs will be met. We may not know when anything will change, but we make preparations anyway.
This is very much like the Christian life. As Christians, we wait for Christ to come again. Since no one but the Father knows when this will occur (Matthew 24:36), we must always be ready.
Isaiah the prophet spoke of a glorious new creation: "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy" (Isaiah 65:17-25, KJV) What a blessing to live in the Lord's Kingdom forever! Our joy will be like that of the Jews who returned from the Babylonian exile (Psalm 126). If we heed the prophets' message and look to Jesus, this promise is ours.
John the Baptist points the way to the Messiah in the words of Isaiah: "I am only someone shouting in the desert, "Get the road ready for the Lord!'" (John 1:23 CEV) Regardless of whether or not we observe Advent or Christmas, we need to prepare the way of the Lord. Let us look to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world at all times. (John 1:29)
How can Christians be ready for Christ at all times? Consider Paul's letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:16-22). Be respectful of your leaders. Work to get along with others. Gently admonish those who are wrong. Be encouraging, helpful, and patient. Don't be hateful, but be kind towards others. Rejoice and pray without ceasing. Don't turn away the work of God's Spirit, and put everything to the test. Accept what is good, and avoid evil. These are words we should live by: year-round.
The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Associate Director of New Prayer Requests, Altar Worker & Director of Advertising