Today is the first Sunday in Advent, traditionally it is called the Sunday of Hope. It marks the beginning of the Christian Year, so Happy New Year everyone!
Reading from Romans 13 verses 11-14 from The Message says “Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.” Anyone who has ever lived with or been a caretaker to someone who is seriously ill knows how easily you can become so absorbed in day to day obligations that it would be easy to be oblivious to God. I have been put in that position this year as I care for my Mother, but someone does not have to be in a similar situation to my own to become oblivious to the “reason for the season” as they say. Children, distant cousins, Aunts and Uncles, family of all relations can be a source of Joy but also distraction. Musical performances, school plays, parties and endless activities can all be sources of Joy and distraction as well. Then there is the planning, shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning which might provide joy for a few people who find joy in such things but really only provide stress and again distraction for the rest of us.
I read an article in the paper this week, ok I read a Blog, where the author had posed the query; “Finish this sentence….When I heard the first Christmas song or saw the first decorations for the Holiday Season, I immediately felt??? “ What went through your mind just now? This year the first Christmas decorations I noticed were lights on the house of a neighbor about a week and a half ago, I immediately thought NO, NO, NO! Don’t they know it is not time yet? The answers the article quoted were similar to my reaction “stressed, Anxious, Pressure, Impossible expectations, Too soon!, Too Early!, NOT YET!, It’s happening TOO FAST!, Overwhelmed!”
How do we wait and hope without getting overwhelmed? The answer lies in our scripture as well, the next verses assure us that the Messiah is coming “The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. ……Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”
This is not an inactive faith that God is calling us to. This is faith in action, a hoping and longing, but also preparing for Christ, preparing our hearts, minds and souls to receive our Lord and Savior. God wants us to prepare the way.
How are you preparing this Christmas ? May God bless you in your preparations this year !