“A man expressed the wish in the presence of the Belzer Rabbi to die like a good Jew. The Rabbi commented: ‘Such a wish is wrong. Desire rather that you may live like a good Jew, and it will follow as a consequence that you will die like a good Jew.” – As quoted by Ari L. Goldman in The Search for God at Harvard.
Yesterday, on my way to see someone, I passed a small pack of runners near Greencastle High School … training, preparing for a coming event. As I drove by the high school parking lot, I saw a number of cars still there. I imagine there were many more students inside – pushing the basketball up the floor on a 3-on-2 drill, working on the proper hold on a wrestling mat, rehearsing and rehearsing for an upcoming concert.
I was often told by several coaches that I would inevitably play like I practiced. Their message was clear: the preparation you put into any activity (athletics or otherwise) would ultimately be reflected somewhere down the road. Our future is shaped by how we spend our present energy and time.
The same is true for this season we are now in, this Advent time. If we long for Christmas to have meaning and significance, it begins now … it begins by training ourselves to hear from God, to receive God’s gifts with joy and humility. It is a season of preparation. We will think about that together in worship. But, it is also true in the way that we conduct ourselves in these days.
We stayed after worship this last Sunday to prepare our place – posting the candles by the windows and the angels on the trees (by the way, you too are welcome to bring an angel ornament from your own home and place it on the Christmas tree in the sanctuary). We are preparing again for the arrival of our King.
Cheryl told me that she was practicing for the upcoming Cantata (see the attached flyer), disciplining her fingers and mind to translate notes on a sheet of paper into music of praise and adoration. Our choir and several other members of other local choirs are also preparing – exercising their voices to sing together, to sing our faith.
I invite you to prepare yourself as well … and to prepare as a family.
How might you prepare to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior this season?
How might you welcome Jesus as Prince of Peace into your life and home this year?
A man expressed the wish in the presence of the pastor to have a peaceful, joyful, hopeful Christmas. The pastor commented: “Such a wish is wrong. Desire rather God’s peace in your life right now. Pray God would restore to you the joy of your salvation this day. Hope that God might come to you this day, and it will follow as a consequence that you will receive the gift of Christmas.”Wes