It was a cool, nippy morning on the shuttle ride to Marymount University. On the way up an icy road, a church on the left hand side of the road had a new sign up on the front yard. Prior to Thanksgiving break, I recalled how that very same sign read “Only turkeys get stuffed and don’t give thanks”. This time around it read, “It’s all about the presence”. I replied to myself saying, “These guys are clever!” Why? Because they couldn’t be any more true.
In the Couples for Christ Family Ministries, we would occasionally this song called “Prepare The Way” during the Christmas season. The end of the chorus goes…”Make ready your hearts, make ready your homes, make ready the people of God…prepare the way!” Those words describe what Advent is all about: preparing ourselves for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. During the priest’s homily on Sunday, he said “Advent is time for spiritual preparation”. Spiritual preparation? What does that mean? How do we do that?
First, we must produce good fruit. No, that doesn’t mean we have to produce apples, oranges, bananas or watermelons! It simply means, we should repent and do works of justice and mercy. We should go out to the “desert” and reflect on ourselves and the areas we need to improve on before the coming of the Lord; areas in our lives where we take in selfishness, pride, anger, jealousy…even materialism. Remember, this season is all about giving! So give to others. “Less for self, more for others.” Embrace the attitudes of selflessness, humility, love, and understanding. That’s how we produce good fruit.
Second, if you are still experiencing pain in your life, go to God and ask Him for healing. Whether you’re hurting because of problems within your families, relationships with your significant other, or anything that’s hurting you in general…pray for healing. If you are experiencing those types of affliction, He’ll restore your broken heart, rest assured.
Lastly, we need to pray. If you don’t, I encourage that you start now. If you do, pray harder. I always remember during Peer Ministry class, my teacher would always ask each and everyone of us “how is your prayer time?” and most of the time everyone would say “it could be better.” So again, if you pray, pray harder. Pray more! If you’re having difficulty trying to embrace those attitudes of producing good fruit, pray to God and ask that He’ll answer whatever you ask for. Remember, ask and you shall receive. During our last camp, I mentioned in my talk (talk 5) how it feels good just to be on the line with a person you like. No one has to say anything. Just the fact that you are on the line with them makes you feel good. That’s exactly how it should be with God. Aside from talking to Him, it’s good to stay with Him in silence as well. Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Just sit there and listen; listen to what He’s telling you. Being on the line with God will feel a million times better.
The Christmas season has always been my favorite, not because of the gifts, but because of how joyful and beautiful this season really is. It always makes me happy to see Christmas lights up or to hear Christmas songs on the radio. Why? Because it always leads me back to the real meaning of Christmas. Most times we forget about how God sent down His only Son on earth so that we’d have a chance to live eternally with Him in Heaven. Jesus’ presence on earth among us is the reason why we are so filled with joy because we now know that He will deliver us from our sins. It is really all about the presence: Jesus.
He is the real reason for the season.
Just because I’m writing this doesn’t mean I’m perfect, nor do I act upon everything I write about each and every time. The important thing to me is how I’m always trying. So with that said, I challenge you to do the same. It’s your choice.
This is God’s message…I am just His messenger.