Preparing to Meet the Lord this Advent

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”—John 1:4-5

At our particular juncture in history, preparing for Christmas often has little to do with preparing for Christ’s coming. For the vast majority, the holiday season is marked by a flurry of parties and shopping sprees with little time for quiet reflection and heart preparation around the mystery of Christ’s incarnation.

Consequently, we enter this season with great anticipation and a fair amount of dread. We are glutted with social contact and yet feel alone. We are often frazzled, harried, and stressed in the midst of what is supposed to be a time full of cheer. Even when the flashes of joy do come, and they do, those flashes often lack relation to the little baby boy born of a peasant girl in a stable in Bethlehem—the one Scripture calls, “the good news of great joy for all people” and “the hope of all the nations” (Luke 2:10; Matthew 12:21).

Today is the first day of Advent. Today is a new beginning. Today is an opportunity to do things differently than before. Jesus says, “Be ready for action, and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return” (see Luke 12:35-48). While the Master is away, everyday is a miniature advent, a preparation for His arrival. If that’s true everyday, then surely it is true during a season designed for this very purpose.

Therefore, let us trim our lamps and listen for the knock of the Lord. Let us stay awake and do not sleep, waiting with bated breath for the coming presence of our Master. Jesus Christ has come, and He is coming again. “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes” (Luke 12:37).

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