Sometimes, preparation is the best part of the process. Think about preparing for a trip– looking at maps and packing in excited anticipation. Or preparing for a celebration- buying and preparing food, inviting people closest to you. Preparing can be a quiet time of filled with hope and anticipation as well as intentional action to have things in place.
What do you do to prepare for Christmas?
Do you enjoy the process of preparation?
There is ritual and tradition surrounding the very preparation for the coming of Jesus. This feeling of waiting in anticipation is not passive, but active. We are making room in our hearts for Jesus to be present in a very real way.
It is easy, during Advent, to get caught up in baking cookies and buying present in our preparation time. John the Baptist, in Mark’s gospel this week, reminds us that confession is one way to prepare. There are things we can do while waiting to make the actual event more full. John challenges the people in Jerusalem to repent, confess their sins and be baptized in the Jordan River in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Today, during Advent, we also participate in reconciliation as we wait.
By asking God for forgiveness from our sins, we can find spiritual and emotional closure from the past that creates more room in our hearts to move into the future with anxious anticipation. When I am working through guilt, I feel paralyzed and stuck on my past actions. There is power in saying, “I am sorry, and I will try, with your help God, to do better.” When I can accept the irrational love and mercy of God, there is a weight lifted and a space created to move forward. Reconciliation is a way to get things in order, have a spiritual check in with God, to find renewal in forgiveness.
Think about a time when you were brave enough to say, “I’m sorry.” How did it feel to receive forgiveness?
Do you agree that reconciliation is an important part of Advent?Advent Candle Photo courtesy of estebanl and Advent Calendar photo courtesy of JIGGS IMAGES under Creative Commons Licensing.