Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”. This Christian season we prepare for the “advent of Jesus”.
Our preparations take on many forms.
We prepare for Christmas by planning and plotting our course of action on Thanksgiving weekend from pre-Black Friday on Thanksgiving day to Small Business Saturday ultimately yielding to Cyber Monday, buying for others and even ourselves, the deals too good to pass up of the things we have recently wanted.
We prepare with decorations for our homes and dorm rooms, the lights and ornaments and creche scenes recalling days of wonder from our childhood and helping many of us to remember warm feelings of being loved.
We prepare special foods; cookies and breads, pies and cakes (if from India), turkeys and ducks and lutefisk to celebrate our families with a feast.
I wonder if anyone anymore makes preparing their hearts a priority, a necessity in this world of darkness and sin? The murder/suicide of an NFL player and his girlfriend on the first day of Advent 2012 reminds me of the brokenness, hurt, pain and yes, sin, that is dormant (or even active) in each of our hearts.
Jesus said that when we choose to follow him we will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
In these days of misplaced priorities, increasing violence and fiscal cliffs, it seems to me that the buying and the memories and the feasts are not nearly as important as the preparation of our own heart to receive Jesus, who, in the words of the hymn writer, “casts out our sin and enters in” and is born in us today.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Help us to walk in the fullness of Life that Jesus offers. We prepare our hearts for your great work of healing, restoration, forgiveness…and Jesus. Amen.