Today is the second Sunday of Advent. In the Christian church calendar, Advent is the “season” when we get ready for Christmas. In most Christian traditions, Advent has a dual meaning: we remember the first Christmas when Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the three kings awaited and rejoiced at the birth of Christ, while we also await and prepare for Jesus’ promised return.
In the second week of Advent, we focus on preparing for Jesus’ arrival. That always brings this song to mind:
Once I shake off images of men with long hair or Afros and women in long flowing skirts dancing around the stage, I think about what it would mean to really get ready for Jesus.
When I was in high school, one of my good friends had a stay-at-home mom (she was a “housewife” back then) and a father who was a diplomat who worked long hours at a stressful job. Part of their daily routine was to “get ready for Papa to come home.” That meant picking up the sweaters and jackets that were cast off in the entryway, collecting the bookbags that were strewn around the family room, and setting the table for dinner. I think about this when I think about preparing for Jesus.
When my daughter is coming home from college, I clean up her room, stock the pantry with her favorite snacks, and make plans for a family dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. I think about this when I think about preparing for Jesus.
When friends are coming over, we clean the house, we sweep the front walk, we buy flowers for the table. I think about this when I think about preparing for Jesus.
If I were going to welcome Jesus like an out-of-town guest, what would I do to get ready for his arrival? I know some faiths emphasize “repenting” to get ready for the Second Coming, but that’s a personal focus. What I am talking about is what I can do to make the world a place that Jesus would want to return to.
What comes to mind is loving my neighbor more (Matthew 22:37-40), doing more to care for the hungry, the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned (Matthew 25: 35-40), and looking for opportunities to do my Master’s will while He is away (Luke 12: 35-48). And that brings this song to mind:
How are you getting ready?
Prayer for the second week of Advent
As we plan and make decisions, God be our way.
As we learn and ask questions, God be our truth.
As we grow and change, God be our life.
(Did you miss my post on the first week of Advent?)