The 1st Sunday in December marks the Christian New Year and the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming.
So, this morning I ask you are you ready for the Advent of Christ?
Maybe not for some, but for many the relevant question is probably what are we preparing for and celebrating?
We are celebrating the very fact that the birth of Jesus was a gift of grace from God to show us how to live in right relationship with God and Man. As a result, Jesus died a cruel and undeserved death. God honored him by raising him from the dead, giving him all authority in Heaven and earth. In returned Jesus equipped us to use his authority under the guidance and inspiration of his Holy Spirit, with the promise that he would return to fully redeem all of creation from what the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 8:22 as, the bondage of corruption.
Advent is a time of prayerful reflection, to think about and celebrate what Jesus has done from birth and what he will do at a point and time in the future.
Advent invites Christians not only to look backwards, but it is also a time to look forward, and be awaken to the seed of hope that longs for God’s redemption of the world.
J. Wilbur Chapman said it well when he penned these words in 1910,
“Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried My sins far away; Rising He justified freely forever: One day He’s coming– O glorious day!
Advent is a time of expectation, of looking forward to the ultimate triumph of God, when God will redeem all creation and make all things new. Jesus calls on us to watch and pray so that the day will not come on us without us being prepared. Those who watch and pray, those who experience an inward change, those who press on, holding on to God’s unchanging hand, will be ready when Jesus comes.
Thus, the church year begins the new year with the heart-felt cry that concludes the New Testament in Revelation, Chapter 22, verse 20 where we read, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”
So, Again I ask, Are you Ready?
Father we thank you this day for your gift of grace in the person of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Savior. During this season of Advent, we ask you for the wisdom to celebrate the birth and life of Jesus every day in ways that will give witness to your amazing grace so that others will see Jesus in their lives more clearly.
Teach us to prepare for Advent with your wisdom as we live or lives in expectation of the return of Christ or exit the stage of life with our call from our labor to reward. Help us to be attentive to the things around us that can and will cause us to hear you say depart from me you worker of iniquity, I know you not. But, instead, hear you say well done thy good and faithful servant, enter the joy of the lord. In Christ Jesus name we pray amen.