How To Celebrate Advent Meaningfully
By Carol Ann Smolka
“Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” -Matthew 24:42
Advent, is a season of preparation. We prepare our homes, our churches, our minds, and our hearts for the coming of the One True King. If you take a moment to meditate on this concept, you’ll quickly realize that as believers, we are always in the season of Advent as we await Christ’s return.
With that in mind, I offer these tips to prepare your life for the coming of Christ, not only in this wintry season, but in all seasons.
Prepare your home. Start living today as if Jesus were coming this afternoon. Fill your home with songs of praise and thanksgiving as you pay your bills, spend time with your family and friends, cook, clean, and remove all disturbances from your path. Do those things so you are ready to spend time with Christ – and then do it. Whether He’s physically here or not, let Jesus come into your home today. Welcome Him in. If it helps, go through the physical act of opening the front door for Him and then ask Him in. Set an extra place at the table for him. These practices will seem strange at first. But as I was taught as a child, practice is essential for success. I certainly want to be ready when He arrives, and what better way than to practice for his arrival? Talk to him as if he is physically in the room with you. Kneel at his feet. In this way, you can experience the coming of Christ every day in your very own home.
Prepare your church. Many believers have fallen asleep waiting for Christ to come again. It’s time to rouse them! Love each other as you wait for Christ to show up on your doorstep. If Christ were to visit your congregation this afternoon, what would he be happy to see you’re doing? What would break his heart? Speak the truth in love to your sisters and brothers and love them the way Jesus loves each one of us. We can’t accomplish everything on our own, so a church family is an excellent way to extend our love far beyond what our own arms can do alone. We must hold each other accountable and help one another press on toward the Kingdom.
Prepare your mind and heart. As Joyce Meyer would say, “Think about what you’re thinking about.” Take the time to plan out what you will focus on today for the Kingdom. Prioritize your thoughts; thoughts lead to actions. You may not be the CEO of a company - but learn to prioritize and organize your thoughts as if you were. Time is valuable, the sooner we all learn that fact the better. There are only so many hours in a day and once you have spent them, you better hope you invested that time wisely. If you were an investor and your currency was time, would you be wealthy or destitute?
To begin the exercise of prioritization, you might use an app to help you or you may use simple tools such as a pencil and paper. Don’t get hung up on a method, do what works best for you. Plan out your time. Develop your own process and watch your life, and consequently, the Kingdom change.
One of your priorities should be to read and study your Bible. Get a good study Bible or join a class at a church. Ask God to lay what is important to him on your heart and then listen for his guidance. Ask him to open your heart to his word more deeply. Don’t however, get caught up waiting in fear. Act when you feel that gentle tugging feeling in your heart. I find that’s how God speaks to me. He nudges gently instead of pushing.
Prepare yourselves joyfully for the King. Enjoy the wait. We wait for Christmas by decorating, singing, cooking, cleaning, and spending time sharing love with one another. Far more important is it to wait in expectant joy and obedience for the next coming of our Lord!