…whether we’re ready or not. 😉
In my sermon this weekend I told this story:
When I was like 5 or 6, my family and I moved to a house just a few houses down from my grandparents on the same block. A year or two later my aunt and uncle and their kids moved in next door. It was great to have family so close! If we wanted to stop by and see Grandma and Grandpa, we’d just walk over there. If we wanted to play with our cousins, we’d walk over and invite ourselves in. If we wanted to borrow an ingredient for dinner, we’d walk over and ask. It was great most of the time, but there was this period where it seemed like every time my grandparents would just “stop by” our house would be torn up. With three little girls at home, we’d often have all of our toys out at the same time, and it was just messy. My poor mom would get so worried and say, “your grandparents must think we never clean the house, it’s always so messy when they come over!” It wasn’t messy all the time, just happened to be that way when Grandma and Grandpa stopped by.
Here’s the thing though, how many of us like to be caught messy? Even if you’re okay with a little mess in your homes, our lives are messy… and we don’t always want people to catch us messy. We’d much rather prepare; clean up a little! Sweep the conflict under the rug, shove the grief in the corner, put a smile on and put the tough stuff away.
We talked about how this season of the year is a time of preparing- preparing for all of the things celebrating Christmas entails (Christmas concerts, parties, family get-togethers, baking, cleaning, cooking, planning, shopping, etc. etc.). There’s also some heart kind of preparing (reasonable expectations for Christmas, missing people, loneliness, when money is tight, estranged relationships, etc. etc.). We don’t even always like to catch ourselves in our own mess.
Preparing for advent is different though. Our Tuesday morning women’s bible study ladies came up with a list of what it looks like to prepare for Christ’s coming. Here’s what they came up with:
1. saying all of the apologies you need to say
2. being fully grateful for the day
3. reaching out to people and doing the work that Jesus calls us to do
4. letting go of fearfulness (especially of death)
5. loving people who feel unlovable.
What would you add to the list?
It seems like advent preparing is so different from our normal preparing this time of year.
And here’s the incredible thing, and the good news that I hear in our Gospel text (Luke 21:25-36). Jesus comes whether or not we are prepared. He comes in the middle of our messy lives and gives us hope, forgiveness, love, grace. He came that Christmas morning, 2000+ years ago, and he comes again and again.
This advent, as you find yourselves preparing, may you prepare a place for Christ. To open your hearts to receive hope, forgiveness, love, grace. Even if you aren’t prepared, he’s coming anyways. THANKS BE TO GOD!
Happy first week of Advent!