It’s the first week of Advent and no one expects you to be ready for Christmas, but if you are not ready for Advent you will miss this amazing spiritual oasis in the middle of a season full of pressure, empty promises and stomach aches. The Advent Season begins with HOPE. You light the first candle hoping in the promises of the prophets of old that have yet to be fulfilled—His second coming to rule the world in peace, and the ones that were fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus on earth.
If you live your life focused on the words of Jesus, Advent Season might show you that you are ready. Jesus didn’t create a church calendar. It was put together by our church fathers who wanted to give us a way to focus on the life of Christ through special Feast Days and Seasons that celebrate Jesus’ life. We definitely need it and it is biblical. They followed the pattern of a calendar year that God Himself set up for us in the seasons by giving us spiritual seasons to deepen our intimacy with Christ.
In the spiritual season of Advent we are asked to focus on the first and second coming of Jesus. During Advent, we prepare our hearts for the first coming of Christ that we celebrate on the Feast of Nativity — Christmas which marks the birth of Christ and all the miracles surrounding that world-changing event. The Church Fathers were not fighting a culture that creates pandemonium and mayhem out of a church celebration without a church. They were simply aware of how easily we forget that the birth and second coming of Jesus Christ are two of the most significant events that are spoken about in the Bible.
Jesus only gave us instructions about His second coming. He didn’t say, “Take a season of Advent to think about My return to earth.” Rather He said, “You must be ready all the time” (Luke 12:40). It’s doubtful that He will return during Advent, but He might. What is hoped through focusing your heart on Advent is that you will keep looking every day of your life.
If you are looking for a scripture to start your Advent season, let me recommend Luke 12:35-48. There you will find Jesus’ own words about preparing your heart for Advent. He advises that we be looking for His second coming as a good servant looks for His Master to return home after a long journey to a distant country. We should get up in the morning and think, What if this is the day that Jesus comes back for me? What has He asked of me in keeping His home ready for His return? Now that is real hope.
In fact, that is a wonderful spiritual discipline to practice in the Advent Season and beyond. Look at each day as if it were to be the day that Jesus returns and make each decision for His glory. Now human nature may cause some to think, If that is the case then I will eat, drink and be merry. Christians have been known to react this way (The Thessalonians); however, that is not the idea. Rather, consider what God has asked of you to help make His house ready for His second coming.
One thing Jesus promises about His return is that He will come when we least expect Him. Luke 12:40 says,
“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Honestly, I don’t expect Him right now as I am writing this devotion to share with you. I do know that He has called me to write this weekly inspiration. Writing each week is one of the ways I hope for His return. What will you do today that is prompted by God? Those are the ways you practice Advent.
Light the first Advent Candle: Read Jesus’ own words about our hope and expectation in Luke 12:35-48. Also here are the more traditional readings for the first week of Advent: Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 1:26-38; Isaiah 7:10-14; Matthew 1:18-24.