Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
We all hate it. Hey, we got visitors coming. We need to get everything cleaned up and ready. Arms length sweep from the wall. Trash cans on spot. Are the mouse traps empty? Hide those empty pallets. Straighten up the load locks. Yep, lots of busy work to get ready for visitors.
Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. What does that mean? Oddly, Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord, in the form of a baby, who would be placed in a manger in Bethlehem. I am not going to get into the whole debacle regarding whether or not he was born in a stable this time. I know that is the tradition, but I don’t believe that scripture supports it. However, that is not up for discussion here, it has already be discussed.
As we prepare, we should think back. How far back? Quite far actually. We have to go back to the prophet Isaiah. In the sixty fourth chapter of Isaiah, we read of the affliction that is falling upon Israel. This affliction is spoken in the form of a long prayer that actually begin in the sixty third chapter, immediately after reading of the Lord’s day of Vengeance. Wait! What? Vengeance? Are you kidding? No.
This prayer of repentance includes looking for the coming of the day of the Lord. However, it is coupled with the full knowledge of God’s vengeance upon the sinfulness of his people, who were to be taken into captivity. Yes, this prayer is one of repentance.
Repentance. Not a word I hear too often in non-denominational churches. Truthfully, I don’t think I heard that word too often in many churches. I know Joel Osteen does not speak of it, then again, he doesn’t speak about sin either. Sad. God’s vengeance is due to our sins against him. How? Simple. Every one of us is a reasonably rational being capable of making certain decisions. No, we can not decide to be saved, but that is another discussion. However, we can choose whether or not to sin, for we know what God calls sin. We can also choose to repent when we have sinned. It is when we sin, whether by accident or intent, and refuse to repent that we stir the vengeance of God against us.
Repentance. This is something we should all do. However, we should be ever more mindful of it as we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Both during the time of Advent as we celebrate his coming in the Bethlehem, and his final coming at the end of the age. It is only by repenting that we may be made clean before our Lord, and it he who cleanses us of our sins, making us ready for his coming.
Yes, getting ready for a visitor is serious pain. Yes, there is a considerable amount of cleaning that must get done. However, at the end of the day, it is worth it. Likewise, as we prepare for our celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus, we must repent and cleanse our hearts and minds of all manner of sin. Only by God’s grace through the gift of the Holy Spirit, sent by Christ Jesus, can this be done.
May we all celebrate this Advent season with penitent hearts and may God’s grace be found among us.