Thoughts on Advent (1): Preparation
We are now in the Advent season. Advent means “coming”, and for Christians we primarily celebrate the first coming of Christ: the incarnation of the Son of God – Immanuel, God with us. We are not obligated to officially observe Advent, but we can use the time in fruitful ways. One way we can do this is by becoming spiritually prepared.
In the gospel of Luke we read of the angel telling Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to John (the Baptist). John would prepare the people to receive Jesus.
“He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1: 16–17).
This means we should spend more time preparing ourselves for Jesus than preparing for big family gatherings or presents by the tree. These other things are to be enjoyed but above all else we should prepare to build enjoyment and anticipation of Christ into our homes. Whichever way you do your gifts and gatherings be sure you point to the greater gift of the Son of God who came to save sinners and gather people to himself. Also for many people this is a time of grief. Broken and lost relationships are often highlighted in the Christmas season. But remember Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3). We find both compassion and hope in him.
So let’s begin our spiritual preparation by turning our hearts back to God and knowing our need of a Saviour. Let us prepare to repent of all known sin. And let us prepare to listen to and trust in and hope in the Word of God about his Son. A little later in the passage in Luke, Zechariah prophesies about the fulfilment of God’s promises in Jesus, when he says that God “has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant, David" (Luke 1:69).