Prepare for Advent!

Mimi had a helper the other day as she decorated the Christmas tree. Eloise dropped in for a “working” lunch and to help get the season underway for her grandparents. She was so excited by all the ornaments and decorations in storage bins. Her excitement piqued when she saw so many personalized items. As you can see, she stretched to put her dad’s kindergarten picture ornament up as high as she could reach so that everyone could see it. This is a season to celebrate family and this granddaughter was relishing the opportunity to be decorating together.

Our church has also been decorated and the worship space definitely has the feel of Christmas. We are anticipating larger crowds for this season. I believe that many are ready to get back into in-person worship after several months of caution because of the Pandemic and subsequent variants. We need to get back together for fellowship, study and inspiration. While online services have been a blessing to so many, there is still nothing to be compared with face-to-face interaction.

What steps might you consider before deciding to get back to a more personal connection with family and friends? I would suggest taking advantage of the vaccines that are available, take any measures to mitigate the further spread of this dreaded disease by masking up, socially distancing when appropriate, and avoiding certain gatherings if you don’t feel comfortable being in attendance. I was hoping to get completely past all of this by now, but we still have some work to be done. Engage, encourage and educate others about the importance of working together on this health problem. Don’t shame others, but do appeal to their better nature. Invite them to become partners in this endeavor.

Spiritually, we have some preparation to undertake as well. This is a great season to join a small group and engage in an Advent study of the history and biblical prophecies leading up to the birth of Christ. This could be done within your extended family, among groups of close friends, or with in-person classes at church or other settings. There are some who will “meet” online as well. If you choose not to group, why not read a book on Christ’s birth or study some of the ancient hymnody that is so important to worship at this season?

John, the baptizer and cousin of our Lord, had a strategic mission as forerunner of Jesus to “thunder in the desert” (MSG) his message, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3 NIV). We too, by investing some time and preparation in this season leading up to Christmas, will certainly get more out of Advent if we prepare for and participate in it.  

On the Christian calendar, this season of Advent means “coming!” There is a old, yet beautiful and worshipful hymn by John Francis Wade that prompts us to affirm, “Come, and behold Him, born the King of Angels. O come, let us adore Him! Christ, the Lord!”

In the midst of frenzied seasonal activity, Advent is counter-cultural in its invitation to slow down, and once again, prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming! "Let us adore Him!"

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 


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