Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the Season before Christmas. It is a season of prayer and waiting and preparing our hearts for the Nativity of Our Lord, which we call Christmas. It is interesting to me that Advent is supposed to be a time of Taking Time when we run frantically all over the place. We race to get our houses and churches all decorated and we shop and cook and party. There is nothing wrong with celebrating. The problem is we allow this to distract us too much from our inward preparation for Our Lord’s birthday.

I can see it all now…. Already people on Facebook are talking about the War on Christmas. It seems funny to me that the Christmas Season begins on Christmas Eve and ends on Epiphany (6 January.) So there really isn’t a war going on before Christmas begins. And what does it matter whether people say Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas? Guess what…. The Baby King will be born again in our homes and churches and hearts no matter what the world says or thinks. And the gift of Christmas is the Christ Child Himself. I was asked the other day, about not knowing what to do to celebrate the Holiday? I asked if they were asking for my advice? They said yes and I said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely and that will be more than enough celebration for Christmas.

In today’s gospel (Luke 21: 25-36) Jesus was warning people about the signs to come indicate the end times. Ah, I know I have some people’s attention now. Some of us love to talk about the end times. Jesus said there would be signs in the Sun and Moon and Stars. The seas will roar and toss. The heavens will shake and people will faint in fears of what is to come. Verse 28 says, “ When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.” Ah, so Jesus spoke of His Second Coming. The scary but Good News is that at the end times our REDEMPTION is near!~

He went on to tell a parable. The story told that when we see the Fig Tree sending out leaves we know that summer is near. It is the same as when we see the signs of the end times we will know that the Kingdom of God is near! Jesus went on to say to be careful or our hearts will be weighed down with the traps of everyday living such as drunkenness and all sorts of anxiety. I have to put in here “Don’t worry be happy.”

So this Advent we get to work on our lives again for another year. We get to watch carefully for the signs and to wait upon the Lord! We can take time to pray and prepare our hearts for the Second Coming of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let’s try to make sure that this Advent that we give our Spiritual preparation priority over our physical preparations. Don’t worry we’ll still have time to do our shopping and baking and decorating and partying! AMEN!

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