If we think about it, one of the major lessons of life is preparation. Memes and messages remind us to live in the present because we spend so much time preparing for the near and distant future.
- We “live right” now as preparation for eternity.
- We have future plans that we only accomplish by planning now.
- We lay our clothes out to prepare for tomorrow.
- As close or as far away as we think, we plan.
I think it is a nice thing to plan for the coming of the Christ child. Advent. We made it, people. We made it to the time of year we use as the Resurrection disclaimer to rank the observances. “If He was never born, He could never die for us all.”
If you’re like me and did not grow up with formal Advent observances — candle lighting, wreath making and all — then please, join me on this learning journey. Then, let’s put our thoughts and lives on a pace of remembrance and honor for the Lord’s coming to earth.
I know life is happening. I know we all have “a lot going on” and think we prefer to speed through the stress and pressure with coffee (tea for me!) and sweets.
But Jesus is coming. He will be born… again… in our awareness, and prayerfully, in practice. For my Pentecostal friends, understand that this is the best deliverance opportunity of all.
In Advent week one, we place the holiday season in context. We light the first purple candle as a sign of repentance. The book of Isaiah is our script in week one.
- Repent — stop evil and learn to do good. (Isaiah 1:1-18)
- Christ’s coming transforms Israel. (Isaiah 1:21-27, 2:1-5)
- Judge the heart, consider our sins, and look to Jesus. (Isaiah 2:6-22, 4:2-6)
- The Lord is the keeper of the vineyard. (Isaiah 5:1-7)
- God opens the way to salvation. (Isaiah 16:1-5, 17:4-8)
- Conversion is possible for all. (Isaiah 19:16-25)
- Jesus’ coming triumphs over Babylon, sin, and idolatry. (Isaiah 21:6-12)
Wow, right?! Wrapped up in the perfect God-man is the gracious offer of transformation, the chance to look closely and see our great need for Him. In this coming Christ child is the protection of all who seek and look to Him. Even enemies like Egypt and Assyria can be saved… so we are wise to wear offenses loosely.
The first purple candle is called the Prophecy Candle or the Candle of Hope. This candle reminds us that the birth of Jesus is proof of the truth of God’s Word. The birth of the Baby Jesus is the sign that strongholds can fall — like Babylon, like the sin in our lives, and like the idol worship we offer to lesser people and things.
Advent is here, Beloved. Let hope be reborn in our hearts. He is coming to save us all. Hallelujah!
Click here to see the reference for the scripture readings.