In Advent, we remember that Christ is coming again. Outward preparation will neither hinder or hasten Christ's return. That's in the hands of God alone. So, whether in relation to the coming of Christmas or of Christ Himself, relax. Repent. Be renewed by God's only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John...and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” –Luke 1:5-25
As we are now at the day before the day before Christmas, we hear the story of a birth. The birth, however, is that of John, the forerunner of Jesus—as well as his cousin. How could Jesus be born before John? We have to hear of the birth of John to Elizabeth and Zechariah to understand that John was all about preparing the way, making ready for the Lord a people prepared.
And many in John’s day did return to the Lord God, and many hearts were turned through the ministry of John. Many were prepared for the coming of the Lord. And are we prepared? Have our hearts been turned during this season of Advent? Has this time been one of repentance and renewal for you and me?
We have probably each had joys and sorrows during Advent. We have surely had ups and downs. Most of us will have done better and worse at repentance, renewal and preparation. Still, our Lord comes. Christmas comes, whether you and I are ready or not. This is the good news—that the coming of Christ does not depend on us and our preparation and readiness. We can remove hindrances and barriers, but He comes nevertheless.
As a parish pastor, I actually welcomed arriving at the day before the day before Christmas. It meant I’d done all I could do, and Christmas would happen in spite of what I had accomplished or failed to accomplish. I encourage you, today, to let go and be at peace. Give yourself a day, if at all possible, to breath, pause, rest, spend time with friends and loved ones. Consider yourself prepared, regardless!
Come, Lord Jesus, come. Come to we who are prepared and ready, and come to the rest of us as well. Amen.