Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:31-33
Today, we celebrate the beginning of the second week in Advent. Advent means “arrival, an appearing or coming into place”. The focus of this season is on the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the truth about God revealing Himself in Christ and making it possible for all of creation to be reconciled to God.
Many of us prepare for Christmas by placing many physical reminders of the holiday all around us in our homes and even in our churches. We set up Christmas trees and decorate them with lights, fancy ornaments and perhaps a star on top. Then we purchase gifts for our loved ones in honor and remembrance of the gifts brought to Jesus by the Wise Men. However, God had His own way of preparing. His preparations took longer than a day or a week. God’s preparations started at the creation of the world and required thousands of people and centuries to complete. He sent the Savior into the world at His set time to a certain family. There was nothing by chance as to when, where and to whom the coming Messiah would arrive in this world. It was not an accident that this all occurred at a specific moment in history. This was not a fleeting response to a nice situation but a meticulously planned event that was designed to change the history of the world. The coming of the Christ was well rehearsed and projected centuries earlier by the omnipotent hand of God.
Our preparations are small and insignificant compared to all that God has done but we do have a responsibility to prepare for Christmas. Although Jesus has already come into this world, we remember His coming every year during the Advent season. It is not just our houses, malls, schools and churches that need to prepare for this season, it’s also our hearts and the hearts of others around us. As Christians, it’s our duty to be the example for others to follow during every part of the year but most importantly during the Christmas season with all of its hustle and bustle.
God used centuries to prepare the world for the coming Messiah. We do not have the time to do that but we do have the time to share the story of Christmas with those who have not experienced God’s love. In our everyday attitudes we have the time to exemplify the Christ of Christmas. A simple greeting of “Merry Christmas” or a smile to those who are lonely or depressed can often be a better gift for Christmas than a boxed present. A caring heart can prepare the way for others to enjoy the gift of Jesus. Just as God prepared His people for the coming of the Messiah, we too should strengthen and encourage one another to prepare for the “The Long-Expected Jesus.”
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for providing humanity with the hope of love, life and eternal salvation. We thank and celebrate You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be born into this imperfect world, so that we may be forever changed by His perfect life and love. It is because of this hope that we can stand on Your promises as a firm foundation when the world around us seems so unstable. We pray in the name of our Long-Expected Jesus, Amen.