Summary: For those of us who follow the Lectionary, this Sunday begins the Season of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. It is also the beginning of the Christian year, ending in November. How do we prepare ourselves for the passage of the year ahead of us?
PREPARATIONS FOR THE PASSAGE
For those of us who follow a Lectionary, this Sunday begins the season of Advent,
signifying a time of reflection and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. It also
marks the beginning of the Christian year, ending next November.
journey or passage to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. They are actually starting a
pilgrimage which means "a long trip to a holy place for a religious reason."
So we could be called pilgrims, starting a long journey or passage this year toward a
closer relationship with Jesus. If Muslims can take a pilgrimage to Mecca, why cannot
we go on a spiritual adventure with our Savior?
However, no one goes on a journey or a trip without making proper preparations.
What preparations do we need to make for this holy pilgrimage?
I PREPARATION WITH A NEW PRIORITY OF TIME
In Romans 13: 11-12, Paul advises his readers to make the wise use of time a priority,
since time was growing short. Scholars tell us that Paul was thinking of a soon return of
Christ to earth. No matter what the situation, we all have a limited amount of time left.
We dare not waste it or think lightly of it. Years ago a newsreel used to be shown in
movie houses called THE MARCH OF TIME. Time indeed marches on and waits for no
one. At my age of 95, I am keenly aware that I have only a brief time remaining. Yet all
us, no matter our ages must face the fact that our times on earth are limited. Some of
us live long lives with a bevy of accomplishments on our resumes, while other lives are
cut off too soon, almost in the cradle of achievements. We have little choice when it
comes to the length of our days.
On the other hand, each of us has the same amount of time. There are still 24 hours in
each day. It is what we do with those hours that count. One man has said that he never
goes to bed at night until he learns something he did not know in the morning. Each of
us can only live one moment at a time. We need to live in the present and leave the
future to God.
A new priority of time:
a.Considers the purpose of our lives. Ephesians 5:15,16
b.Considers the length of our lives. Psalm 90:1
c, Considers the brevity of our lives. Psalm: 144:4
II PREPARATION WITH A NEW POLICY OF LOVE
In the Romans passage, Paul encourages the people to live honorably in their lives and
in their relationships with others. He especially warns them about quarreling and
jealousy. However, the best way to ensure a proper relationship with others is to
employ a policy of love. Some companies have now established what they call a love
policy contract to limit liabilities in the event of breakups and other issues between
dating and romantically- involved employees. Jesus incorporated the first love policy
contract when he said, "Love your neighbor as yourselves."(Mark 12:31) Then he made it
even more challenging when he said, "Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
Love is not some sweet innocent perfumed emotion between two people. Love is a verb
and always calls for actions. It remains true that actions change feelings.Loving
motions result in changed emotions.
A woman went to see her pastor one time with furious anger against her husband,
saying "I hate him! But I don't just want a divorce. I want to make him suffer." The
pastor replied, "One way you can do that is by doing all the kind loving acts you can think
of, things like cooking his favorite meal, buying him a new coat, and anything else you
know he enjoys. Then after a month tell him that you want a divorce. That will get back
at him." The women, thinking that would be a good idea said,"Good I'll do it." The pastor,
waiting for a month to go by, and not hearing from the woman called her, asking "Are
you ready for the divorce?" "Divorce!" she replied, "I don't want a divorce. I found out I
really love him." Loving actions produce real love.
On our journey we remember:
a.To love our enemies. (Matthew 5:4)
b.That love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
c. To do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
III PREPARATION WITH A NEW PROMISE FROM GOD
Actually this is a renewal of an old promise from God. Many times we experience
broken promises from people. Many a lover has been cruelly hurt by a broken promise.
Marriages have broken up because of broken promises. Job applicants have been