Dearly Beloved,

How in the world did December get here so fast?  What has happened to the time?

This year, the Season of Advent begins on Sunday, December 2.

The Season of Advent is a time of preparation. In Advent, we as God’s people prepare to celebrate the arrival of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve, December 24, and Christmas Day, December 25.  The time of Advent is the time before the big event.

In real time and in our real life, we prepare by putting up a Christmas tree, along with lights and other decorations. We also write Christmas cards and letters and sent them out in order to update friends and relatives about what has happened to us and our family during the last year. In addition, we buy presents that are given and received. These presents usually are not opened until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, because then, the time of preparation has changed to the time of celebration.  All the presents given and received are an expression of love. They all point to the greatest present of all- the birth of Jesus our Savior, provided by the great love of our heavenly Father.

The time of Advent is also a time to keep a faithful watch in anticipation, for the arrival of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Judgment Day. The time of Advent is the counterpart to the Season of Lent. Both are a penitential time of the year. So, during Advent, many of the faithful prepare by increasing their devotional life. Advent becomes a time to consider our many sins we have committed by thought, word, and deed, and also, the suffering and pain of sins committed against us. This is followed by a time of celebration, remembering that this is why Jesus was born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day. He came into this world to rescue and deliver us, and to totally forgive us our sins and also, those committed against us.

Also, in addition to all of this, is our Divine Service on Sunday morning. We begin with the time of preparation. We prepare ourselves to come into the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as we go through Confession and Absolution of sins. After having being cleansed and purified, we then celebrate both His arrival, and being in His presence, through His Word and sacraments. As we partake of Him in His Word and sacraments, He gives to us, and we receive the gifts, blessings, and benefits, that only He can give, and only we can receive by faith. After receiving His blessings, gifts, and benefits, we then respond in celebration, by pray, praising, and giving thanks.

Notice in all this a pattern – The pattern of preparation, followed by celebration.

So remember, that as a Lutheran Christian, you are a party animal. For you are either, preparing to celebrate, or you are celebrating.

Have a Great December  Pastor Brad Rick

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