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Prepare and wait for Jesus to show up and show off

Prepare and wait are two words that stand out at this time of year.  The Christian Calendar marks this season as Advent. Advent literally means “coming” or “appearance.” During the four weeks before Christmas we celebrate both the coming birth of Jesus and his eventual second coming or “appearance” to set the world right.  We prepare and wait for both.

Our world seems particularly chaotic these days. Some days we can become so overwhelmed by the acrimony and division surrounding us we’re tempted to shout, “Come, Lord Jesus—NOW!”  Those, in fact, are some of the last words in the New Testament. Strife and conflict are nothing new.  Christians have been praying for Jesus to return to calm the tumultuous seas of our lives for 2000 years.

In these days and weeks before Christmas, we can get ready for Jesus to arrive. We can prepare to be less contentious with those whom we disagree. We can prepare to reach out to a lonely neighbor. We can prepare to offer words of healing to a broken relationship. We can prepare to forgive someone who has hurt us. And, as we prepare, we wait. We wait for Jesus to “show up and show off!” To be sure, Jesus will eventually come back and all will be right with the world some time in the future, but Jesus also “shows up and shows off” today—when we do the prep work.

The good news is that Jesus shows up everyday when we’re prepared to receive him. Jesus is the one who empowers us to reach out, offer words of healing, and forgive. Jesus is the one who gives us hope that peace, compassion, and forgiveness can be experienced right now. Jesus is the one who calms our hearts and souls while we wait for everything to be made new again.

May this season of Advent be filled with the promise that Jesus will show up as we prepare and wait to receive him!

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