advent candlesPreparing and Advent

Nov. 29, 2015

Jeremiah 23:13

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, one of my favorite times of the year. Advent means “preparing.” The question is this: what ARE we preparing for?

Late summer, Rick and I moved unexpectedly. In the last three months, we’ve been preparing to make our new-to-us house a home. This 105-year-old+ Victorian house has needed some tender loving care. We know the previous owner loved this home. She just was not able to maintain it. So, we’ve been painting, refinishing the floors, gutting the kitchen and trying to bring back some of the original beauty. We’re trying to maintain the original character of a home built before indoor plumbing and yet making it practical and attractive for today.

The process of preparing this house into our home has taken much longer than I expected. Several weeks ago, I realized the house would not be ready for guests at Thanksgiving. We adjusted our goal and now pray we can have just part of this 17+ room house ready before Christmas. I continue to make lists of things that need to be done. As I contemplate these things in addition to my work schedule, it’s a little daunting. It’s the first Sunday of Advent. I know there is an Advent Wreath someplace in this house. I just have no clue where.

Why all this preparing? Because I want our first Christmas in this house to be special. I pray people can enter our house and feel the love of Christ radiating from our preparations. After months of eating at a patio set on paper plates and not knowing which box contains what belongings, I’m looking for at least some level of normalcy.

Here’s the catch. Am I preparing for the right thing? As I touch-up paint and unpack boxes and set-up my office, do I appreciate the preparing God did so the first Christmas would even happen? Are these preparations more important than seeing Jesus’ birth as the single most important birth ever?

I know the next several weeks will be filled with lots of activity. This is OK; as long as we make sure we prepare not just trees, cookies and cards. Along the way, we must also prepare our hearts for the Christ child’s arrival. The rest of the preparations really are not as necessary as preparing our hearts. Let’s move this to the top of our Advent preparation list.

Almighty God – as we lit the first Advent candle today, we are reminded of all the preparations You went through so there could even be a first Christmas. May the preparations we pursue these next few weeks keep in mind whose birthday we celebrate. Encourage us to focus on preparations that prepare our hearts to be open to the Christ child’s arrival. Amen.

Blessings  –


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