Preparation

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How do you prepare for Christmas? Do you put up a tree and decorate it with colorful bulbs and flashing lights? Do you spend hours putting lights up on your house so your neighbors can see how much you love Christmas? It’s that time of year where we start seeing Christmas lights and decorations everywhere we go. Sometimes our towns have their own little traditions when it comes to the decorations and lights. For example, every year, Chardon, Ohio has a special lighting ceremony to light up the whole square. Canton, Ohio has “Light Up Downtown” where everything is decorated in lights, and at a special point in this event, they turn on all the lights. They even have fireworks. Recently, here at school (Malone University, Canton), I have put up a small Christmas tree, decorated the registrar office, and decorated the door to my room. Why do we take so much time preparing for one day out of the year? Are we preparing the way we should be?

Some of us may respond to the first question with: “I spend so much time preparing for this one day because it is the day that my Savior was born.” As for the other question, I think it can go both ways. When we look at this advent season and we begin decorating, baking cookies, and watching Christmas movies, we need to think about the motives behind our actions/traditions. Are we doing it to celebrate the Lord’s birth from our hearts? Or are we doing it out of habit and tradition?

You see, most of the time we don’t even start preparing until after Thanksgiving; or sometimes even later. We allow ourselves to say “Christmas is not acceptable until at least after Thanksgiving”. Or at least this is what I heard from many as I began listening to these special tunes way back in August. Why do we put a limit on when we can start celebrating the birth of our Savior? If our hearts are truly in the Christmas spirit, meaning we celebrate Christmas because of Christ’s birth, then we should start to prepare for this season as early as we want. In fact, we should celebrate His coming all year round!

If you really think about it, the Bible talks of how early people started preparing for Christ’s birth. An example is in Isaiah 40:3 (NIV): “A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah was a prophet that spoke of the times that were to come. In this particular time period, Isaiah is prophesying after the fall of Israel. He is basically telling the people of Israel that there is a Messiah coming to save them all. And this was hundreds of years before Jesus ever showed up on the scene!

Why don’t we prepare like that? Shouldn’t our hearts always be thankful and in celebration of the first coming of our King? Shouldn’t our hearts be in even more of a “celebration mode” now because of Christ’s second coming? Think about it. The first coming preceded the second, but the second coming will be final. There’s not going to be a third coming or a fourth for those caught unprepared. How important it is to prepare our hearts NOW for the presence of our soon coming King!

We need to be preparing our hearts for that second coming of Christ our Savior. If we are only focused on decorating, and the material things here on Earth, are we really prepared then for His second coming?

We need to repent. Change our direction. Run towards Jesus, our life-giver and hope! For more on this second week of #TheAdvent, Check out Pastor Aaron’s message “Advent: Preparation Through Repentance” on Painesville Assembly of God’s podcast to learn how repentance can prepare us for the second coming of Jesus. And not only His second coming, but His very presence in our lives right now.

http://painesvilleag.com/advent

During this advent season, take a moment and think about why you put so much into Christmas. Are you doing all this for the right reasons?

Jenny Bushnell,
College Student & PAG Blogger

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