A Season of Limited Time
It is almost Advent. Are you preparing for the Christmas Season? It seems every year the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas gets shorter and shorter yet when I was a child the time between the two holiday seasons was agonizingly long. Maybe the difference is that now I am the one doing the preparing instead of standing idly by waiting. Waiting is never easy but waiting without preparing is not only boring it can catch you off guard.
As we move into the season of Advent it is important to see that it remains a season of preparing, both two thousand years ago and today. Preparing is difficult to understand during a delay. The Jewish people struggled with it as they awaited the Messiah to come and sometimes we struggle with it today as we await His return. God’s timing doesn’t always line up with ours. There is a cute story that illustrates this about a little boy named Tommy. One day, while walking through the woods, Tommy began thinking earnestly about God. On a whim, he called out, ”God? Are you really there?” To his surprise, a voice answered, ”Yes, Tommy? What can I do for you?” Grabbing onto this grand opportunity, he asked, “God, what are a million years like to you?”
God knew that Tommy would not understand the concept of infinity, so He answered in a way that the boy could understand. “A million years to me, Tommy is like a minute.” Tommy pondered this for a moment before asking, “Then, what’s a million dollars like to you?” God answered, “A million dollars to me, is like a penny.” “Wow!” Tommy exclaimed with an idea. “Since you’re so generous, can I have one of your pennies?” God quickly replied, “Sure thing! Just a minute.”
Preparing for All Seasons
Tommy wasn’t ready for God’s minute because he wasn’t prepared. And most of the time neither are we. God gives us time to prepare before He answers. Our focus verse, this week is unusual for Advent but not for being prepared. However, preparing is what we must be doing not just during Advent but during all the seasons. This period, like all times, is a time to get ready for Christ.
The Advent and Christmas seasons find most of us hastily preparing for the big day on the 25th. Some of us make elaborate plans and many people begin months prior to the actual day of celebration. But for all the planning for this celebration what plans are we making for the celebratory return of Christ? Perhaps during our current seasonal preparations, we need to give serious thought about preparing for His return.
Jesus reminds us of remaining watchful. It seems we put so much preparation into earthly events but so little into preparing for eternity. During this season of Advent, it is important that we remind ourselves to keep our eyes focused on the great importance of eternity while committing to a consistency of preparing for His return year around. And much like our preparations for Christmas, we should consider inviting people along the way. For there is a huge celebration coming and only those who prepare will find themselves in attendance.
And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! Mark 13:33 (NLT)
3 Easy Ways to Prepare for the Big Event!
Commit – Step one in preparing is to make a firm commitment. This commitment begins by acknowledging that Christ is the Son of God. Recognizing that He is the one who prepares a place for you after earth. In this, it is only right that you prepare for the celebration as well. Committing to Him is the basic preparation needed for life.
Devote – Consider setting aside a daily time to simply spend time devoted to Him without distractions. Pick a place and a time that will fit your lifestyle and schedule. Beginning with a short time of 15 minutes is an excellent start. Resolve to this devoted time for at least 30 days even when you don’t feel like it or life is distracting you with different agendas. It won’t be long before this daily habit becomes necessary for you to get through your day.
Develop – During your daily devoted time consider how to develop your relationship with Him. Requirements only involve a simple conversation. God doesn’t expect elaborate prayers or conversation. Be frank and open with Him, He is already aware of what is going on not only in your life but your mind. He is the only one you can fully trust and simply be who you are without fear of judgment. You really do have a friend in Jesus. A loving friend who will listen, not judge, and never abandon you.
Once you become accustomed to developing your relationship through conversation consider getting to know Him better by studying His Word. This step of preparing is important as you learn more about the one who grants you a home in eternity. As you know Him better you become more attuned to what He wants for your life, living every day for Him by His instructions.
Preparing Allows You to Just Stand and Shine!
These 3 steps of preparation will ready you for the return of Christ. As this commitment becomes firmly planted in your life, exploring more ways to develop and prepare becomes second nature. Then consider how you may share the necessary preparation with others.
Writer, Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of when her daughter was small how she received the seemingly insignificant and silent part of the Bethlehem star in the annual Christmas play. After the child’s first rehearsal, she burst through the door with her costume, a five-pointed star lined in shiny gold tinsel designed to drape over her like a sandwich board. ”What exactly will you be doing in the play?” her mother asked. The child quickly replied, “I just stand there and shine!” her daughter replied.
When you spend time preparing for the return of Christ you too will shine. He is indeed returning and unfortunately those who make no preparations will be left behind. It is your place to share your shining life found with Christ with others. It begins by taking the step to prepare, so you are ready.
As you prepare this year for the upcoming celebration, challenge yourself to commit, devote, and develop your preparations for more than His birth but for His return as well. Find the true meaning of Christmas through your beliefs allowing real preparations to reveal themselves. Be motivated in knowing that He is returning and one day all believers will join Him. Lastly, find comfort in knowing that through His love for you on the cross, you can begin again.
As you focus on the importance of preparing for Christmas, remember that His birth leads to the cross of life eternal. That knowledge allows you to stand and shine for all to see.
Love in Christ,
Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.
Robert H. Schuller
What Are Your Thoughts?
How are you preparing for Christmas? Are your preparations for His return as great as the ones you are working on for the Christmas celebration? Share your thoughts on the ultra-importance of preparing for His return.