Yet, Advent is a time in the church year set aside to do just that, to slow down and prepare. Our preparation has a two fold purpose. The first is quite obvious, as we are called to prepare our hearts for Christ’s entrance into the world on Christmas. The second, is to prepare for His Second Coming when Jesus will return in glory.
Historically, these four weeks leading up to Christmas are set aside as an opportunity to take inventory of our lives. We are called to remain ready and watchful to receive our Savior (see Matthew 25:1-13), and this is brought to the forefront in Advent with the start of new church year. We are invited to build in practices to help us toward that end. Some suggestions include; reading, or even writing out, the daily readings for Advent (a list of these readings may be found on the table in the back of the church), nightly lighting an Advent wreath and praying before dinner as a family (you will also find a short service and devotionals in the church to assist you), setting aside alms for the poor, or a fast of breakfast or lunch to spend a few minutes extra moments prayer.
You see, Christians are always called to be countercultural. And at a time when the world and culture around us seem to go nonstop, to focus upon self, and to promote indulgence, we are called to be those who live differently. In the simple things we do and choices we make, we take steps to have souls prepared to receive our Savior and to be a light to the world around us (Luke 2:29-32). In all generations the Faithful, who live unto the Lord, cause those around them to pause and question the hope that Believers possess (1 Peter 3:15). In so doing, it creates an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Even in our day and age, people are often open to hearing and receiving the Gospel more at this time of year than at any other time. And as we prepare, we do so not only for the sake of our own souls but for those souls who are lost as well. Pray for and seek opportunities to reach out to someone this season. Many occasions to invite others exist over the coming weeks through our Christmas women’s event, caroling, children’s events, and ultimately Christmas Eve services. While we are called to prepare personally, it always includes having a heart more open and focused upon those who are lost and disconnected from God and His Church. May God bless and guide us as we walk out these Holy Days together.