Prepare the way. That is my motto the next 22 days. As I sat down to write today, I realized the importance that God plays in my life. Without God, I am nothing. Without God, I have no hope. Without God, I have no meaning behind why I am here. Desperation. Hopelessness. Selfishness. Sadness. Worry. Fear. That is how I would feel without God in my life.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.…
During Advent, I can reflect on my relationship with God. When I seek Him, he finds me; when I knock, he comes to the door and welcomes me; when I ask, he gives. It all makes sense. I allow God into my heart (and volunteer to push away sin to let Him in), then I find myself in prayer more often (knocking at His door), and because I am in prayer more, I begin to ask Him for help, and He gives His help abundantly.
What about the other way around? When God seeks me, am I ready for Him or am I too busy? When God knocks at my door, do I answer Him or do I hide in my house? When God asks for my help, do I do as He asks (like Mary, the Mother of Jesus) or do I choose to do what I want? Wow, now when I think of it that way, I have failed God many times. God is doing His part, but I am not doing my part.
What is God needing me to do this Advent? I found that answer this morning. You see I found my crucifix and for some reason felt the need to place it under my Christmas Tree right beside the manger scene. At first it seemed odd that I found this pleasing to God, but I realized that when I begin my Advent season of prayer and communication to my Lord and King, I must remember all that is set to happen to this precious little baby that will be born on Christmas. Jesus will heal many – not just from pain and ailments but from suffering and sorrow. Jesus will question the Jewish faith – not to destroy it, but to grow an even stronger faith and understanding for God. Jesus will suffer and die on a cross, so that we all can be forgiven of our sinfulness and find peace with the fact that eternal life lies ahead for most of us.
I realized that God needed me to see the importance of Jesus – the human form of God. He needed me to feel His presence – not just in the birth of this King, but in the death of this King. Christmas is about hope. With that hope, comes struggle, strength and endurance. These are gifts from God. Mary and Joseph didn’t have a fabulous time leading up to the birth of Jesus – quite the opposite. They endured struggles (traveling by donkey, paying taxes, and spending the night in a dirty, dark stable), and God showed them the beauty that comes from that suffering: the beauty of a little baby whose face shined with God’s Glory.
Today, I have found that preparing for Advent means remembering all of these events that take place in Jesus’ life – the joy and the struggles. God reveals His beauty to us in miraculous ways, and we must have a relationship with Him in order to see this beauty that surrounds us. Let’s remember that when we knock on God’s door, we are there in hopes of a conversation, a friendship, and a visit that will ignite our faith and light up our life.