We continue our celebration of Advent on the Mount Airy Charge. At St. Andrews UMC the David Adams Family read and lit the Advent candles the second week, while the A.J. Nuckols family read and lit the candles on the third week.
At Republican Grove UMC our readers are Heidi Dawson, Betty Jo Dawson, and Patricia Fisher. I have been lighting the candles each week. At Providence UMC our readers are Carl Wayne Adams, Fred Rieger, and Brian Daniels; Brian has also been lighting the candle each week.
Christmas is intended to be a transforming event, not a lovely interlude in business as usual. What we do in Advent in preparation for Christmas will be our means of getting ready for a new way of looking at life -- a new way of living.
The Prophet Malachi speaks of a messenger:
. . one who will prepare the way of the Lord
. . . one who reminds us of the covenant of God
. . . . one who refines and purifies us in faithfulness
How then do we prepare to be transformed by the coming of the Lord?
. . by allowing the light of hope to awaken our spirits?
. . . by making room for the Lord to write the covenant on our hearts?
. . . . by living in gratitude for what we receive in the Lord?
If we prepare ourselves by renewing our covenant with God, then we will be truly transformed as Christ comes again into our lives.
Joy is at the heart of the journey through Advent to Christmas: Joy in the knowledge of what God has done throughout the ages, joy in the realization that God is able and that God does change things for the better, joy in the assurance that God can enter into our lives no matter what our situation may be. The Apostle Paul calls us a life of rejoicing:
. . to live a life full of rejoicing and gentleness
. . . to put aside worry in the confidence that the Lord is near
. . . . to lift our requests in prayer, with thanksgiving
. . . . . to trust that the Peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.
Let us then consider the condition of joy in our lives.
. . Do worries sometimes seem larger than our confidence that God is near?
. . . Does the busy-ness of our lives sometime interfere in our life of prayer?
. . . . Does anxiety over the big things of the world ruin the little joys of life?
Advent is a time when we can clean out the inner stables of our lives so that new life can be born, our spirits may be refreshed, and our lives may be renewed in the joy of salvation.