How are you celebrating Advent 2022?
What will you do differently to usher in the most phenomenal event in the history of mankind: the incarnation of God? Advent should be more than participating in special Bible studies or in the lighting of Advent candles. I’m afraid to say that I was guilty of both.
While thinking I was really doing something “spiritual” to usher in the true meaning of Christmas, I had allowed this sacred season to become “ritualistic routine”. Advent, celebration of Christ’s explosion into human history, should be a time of excitement and spiritual awakening. Just as Simeon and Anna faithfully awaited the long-prophesized Messiah (Luke 2:34-38), we too should be faithful and watchful as we hopefully prepare the way for the arrival of our Lord and Savior during this season of advent.
Time to prepare
One meaning for “prepare” means to construct or create as well as to furnish or equip. It often involves making a building, vessel, or object ready for use. The second meaning for prepare means to make the necessary preparations for an event that will happen later.
Throughout the Gospels, prepare is used to describe the nearness of a great wedding or banquet feast, or even what will happen at the second coming of Jesus (Matthew 22:4,25;34,41).
The different aspects of “prepare”, calls us to: 1) make ourselves ready vessels or homes to receive Jesus and 2) to participate in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Living in between
Living between Jesus’ First and Second Advent is a place of tension for us. Although we know that Jesus’ first advent has occurred, how can we “prepare the way” to celebrate Advent for this year and beyond—even until Christ’s second return?
With joyful anticipation. Anticipation is the act of looking forward. Let us rekindle this emotion that generates joy and pleasure as we remember what Christ’s presence has meant to us. In addition, let us allow our imagination to create new scenarios of possibilities as we think about “what is to come”.
Attentively waiting. This is not mankind’s strongest attribute as attested by our impatience with people, places, and things. Our busyness and overscheduled calendars have pushed us into believing that waiting is an indication of either a problem with “the system” or flaw in others. Some things are worth waiting for. Jesus is worth waiting for.
With faithful preparation. Let us become “ready vessels” to receive the presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. This begins with intimacy with God, meditating on His Word, and praying with “listening ears”. Secondly, we must make ourselves “living sacrifices” to God—in humble submission including service to others. Finally, we must faithfully prepare by aligning our thinking with “things above” (Col. 3:2). It is our future hope of glory that will motivate us to be conformed to the image of Christ.
A Prayer for Advent
Advent, the coming of Jesus Christ, brings something the world alone can never provide—unconditional love for those who trust in Jesus as their Savior, unwavering faith that trusts in the sufficiency of God to meet every human need, and unquenchable hope that guarantees an inheritance in eternity future. Love, faith, and hope—these are key benefits that come with the advent of Christ. Joy and peace then follow as we abide faithfully in His presence. All this and more are ours as we prepare the way for Christ.
Eternal God, we are seeking signs of your presence in our lives. Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts to receive your words of hope as we anticipate the coming of the One whom you are sending.
 Awaiting the Already, Magrey R. de Vega.