Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who's Arrival ... are you most awaiting?

Advent means literally, "arrival".

Who's arrival are you expecting in this time of Advent?

Deitrich Bonhoeffer asks "Are we rightly prepared?  Is our heart capable of becoming God's dwelling place?  Thus Advent becomes a time of self-examination".

He goes on to say that "the coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.  Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness."

Advent is as much, or more about waiting for Christ's return as it is about celebrating his birth.  My husband shared with me today, as he was preparing his sermon for this Sunday, that for every prophecy in scripture of the birth of Jesus, there are eight times as many references to the second coming.

As we reflect on the year that has nearly passed we hopefully rejoice in the goodness of God that has come our way and can sense a small bit of our eternal home.
Are we taking time to reflect and rejoice?  Do our actions mirror what we say are our priorities?  Are we practicing spiritual disciplines or are we too busy baking, shopping, decorating, and wrapping?

Christ stands at the door and knocks.  He stands in the form of a beggar, a neighbor in need...
Is the door tightly shut?
"Come, you blessed... I was hungry and you fed me..." Matthew 25:34

Unlike Santa, he's not coming down your chimney.  You must let him in.  You must open the door and receive Him.

Who are you expecting this Christmas?  Who are your children most expecting?

Jesus?  Or Santa?

Have you shared with your children the immediacy of Jesus, of our need for Him, of our need to be prepared for His return?  Or is Santa more exciting, more immediate?

Santa comes bringing gifts they can see and touch.  Do they see the gifts that Jesus brings?  Do they see how they are blessed as they too feed the hungry and clothe the poor?  Are you training them to love presents wrapped with ribbon that will likely be lost or broken within the year more than the eternal gift of grace?

We must be watchful as we wait for the arrival of Christ, as we move through not only Advent but each day of the year in expectation of the One who is to come, that we prepare our own hearts.  That we lead our children in that preparation as well.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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