Be Prepared – Advent 1 - Hope

Blog Topic: 

OT: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Epistle: 1 Thess. 3:9-13

Gospel: Luke 21:25-36

Prayer

Grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father above, Jesus Christ our savior and the Holy Spirit who strengthens us and keeps us in the faith. Amen.

As we come together to begin the Advent season, I want you to consider with me that Advent begins in darkness and ends at Christmas Eve when a bright light shines in the sky, a star so bright that both shepherds and wise men are said to be able to follow it to the manger where the baby Jesus lies. This morning we lit one candle on the Advent wreath to express our hope in the growing light of Christmas.

I believe preparation is important as we seek to wait and face something whether it is for the first time or we have done it many times before.

When we are preparing for something we are about to experience for the first time, here are some of the things that we often do:

  1. We create an image in our minds about what it would be like then
  2. We begin to put things in place that we think we might need for the experience…then
  3. We talk to people who have had the experience or similar experiences…then
  4. We prepared our minds psychologically and finally when we have done all we think is necessary
  5. We wait…

When we are preparing for something we have experienced before what do we do?

  1. We remember what it was like the times before that we experienced it.
  2. We put things in place with the view of making this coming experience as good or better than the last
  3. When we are convinced that we are prepared psychologically and physically
  4. We wait..

As we approach any experience two things are critical preparation and waiting.

This first Advent candle is the candle of HOPE and as I thought about it reminded me of one other thing that we often do though not consciously in this season as we prepare…we HOPE

We hope that the image in our minds that we created we become reality or that the experience will be better than before

We hope that all the things that we have put in place, all the things that we have planned will be enough, will be perfect and everything will run smoothly

We hope that nothing new will come up that we can’t handle psychologically or physically

As we hope in the physical sense let us also seek to nourish the hopes of our spirits.  Let us prepare our hearts in the hope that:

  1. The Lord keeps His promise, that the entrance of Jesus into the world is evidence of a coming time when justice and righteousness will be at the forefront of human relationships as is promised in Jeremiah 33

Let us prepare our hearts in the hope that:

  1. In this season our faith in God will be renewed and cause us to increase and abound in love for one another and for all as 1 Thessalonians 3 asserts.

Let us prepare our hearts in the hope that:

     2. The issues in the environment  and the distress among the nations will soon take a positive trajectory Luke          21:25-28 

Let us prepare our hearts in hope and not:

     3. Let it be weighed down, distracted or overwhelmed by the worries of this life to the point that we miss out         on what is most important – our relationship with Jesus and with our neighbor. This is what will count at the         end of the wait… so be prepared.

 SONG: In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Amen.