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Tag Archive | "Advent"

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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Arrival of Jesus


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

The advent season is upon us. Advent by definition means “arrival.” It is the period of time in our Church calendar filled with expectancy as we await the celebration of the arrival of Jesus. It’s a time meant to be filled with reflection and gratitude as we ponder the arrival of the “Word become flesh.”  Unfortunately this time ends up being hijacked by the hustle and bustle of the consumer-driven Christmas season. We spend time preparing for our family celebrations most commonly marked by the giving and receiving of gifts. Far too often I find myself failing to reflect on just exactly what it means to receive the greatest gift ever given. The perfect, eternal, all-powerful Son of God taking on the flesh He created in order to humbly, meekly, and selflessly stand, or, more accurately, be crucified in our place; the giver and sustainer of all life willingly enduring our death so we could freely accept and embrace his life. 

This is a gift for all mankind simply to receive. Let us not get so caught up in the celebrations revolving around the giving and receiving of material and temporal gifts, and risk missing the preciousness of receiving the priceless gift—God giving himself in the greatest act of love this world has ever or will ever witness. 

Let us find ourselves filling this advent season with time spent in worship of the One who gave himself once and for all for the joy, peace and life of all who humbly and simply receive the greatest gift ever given. As we await the celebration of our King’s arrival, may we find ourselves longing for His return where he will once and for all make all things new.  

#advent  #comeLordJesus  #He’scomingback!  #receive

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Let’s keep Advent


Father Lam T. Le, Pastor 

St. John Paul II Parish 

3110 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

(616) 696-3904

 

Sunday, December 3, marks the season of Advent and the beginning of the Church’s new liturgical year. The word Advent comes from the Latin word “ad-venire,” which means “to come to.” 

“Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.” (See Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and Calendar, no. 39). 

In our culture of instant gratification, there seems to be no room for such a period of devout and joyful preparation as the liturgies of the Church suggest. But as people of faith, the Parable of the Ten Virgins reminds us; unless we are prudent (carrying a lamp with enough oil while awaiting the bridegroom) we are not suitable for the Feast (Mt 25:1-13). Unless we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord, whether in the celebration of Christmas or at the end of time, we will not be prepared to enter the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Or, as Matthew 22: 11-13 indicates: we might enter, but not with the proper attire for the Feast. 

“Prepare the way of the Lord” is the exhortation that is properly applied to all of us as we celebrate Advent! Concretely, how should we keep advent? As the voice of one crying out in the desert indicates, “Make straight his paths!” (Mk 1:2). We make our paths straight by removing the obstacles in our hearts that separate us from God. Those obstacles can be sinful acts and unhealthy attachments to the “stuff” we accumulate in this life that consumes our hearts and souls, leaving no room for God. 

Let this Advent be unlike any other! Let us be like the five wise virgins with lamps filled with oil to await our Redeemer, Christ the Lord! Amen. 

(In addition to being the priest of St. John Paul II Parish, Cedar Springs, Father Lam also proudly serves as Pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 W Maple Street Sand Lake, Michigan 49343. Phone 616 636 5671)

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