December 2, 2018
We know what we must do to prepare for Christmas. We have our “to do lists” that include shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, cleaning, and cooking. But what do we have to do to prepare for the coming of the new world that Jesus speaks of? The answer is simple. Paul tells us: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all so as to be blameless in holiness before God at the coming of our Lord Jesus . . . You should conduct yourselves to please God . . . .” We prepare for the coming of the new world–we help bring that new world in existence by loving one another and living to please God–a simple formula.
Mental health specialists tell us that the holiday season is a very difficult time for some people because it never lives up to the expectations that some have for it. After all their preparations, anticipation and hopes, some people are so disappointed by their experience of the holidays that they slip into serious depression. But we can be sure that we will not be disappointed with the new world come into existence when Jesus returns. It will fulfill our every expectation and beyond. We can throw ourselves completely into our preparation for that day with the assurance that our efforts will not be in vain. When Jesus returns, he will take our feeble efforts, join them to his own, and then present a new, transformed world to God. It will be the world as God created it to be and we will not be disappointed.
Anticipation, waiting, preparation these are what Advent is about. We are waiting not only for the coming of Christmas but for the coming of the new world when Jesus returns. We are preparing not simply for the holiday season but for the coming of the Lord Jesus with power and great glory. We anticipate not just the celebration of Jesus’ birth–we anticipate his return to complete the transformation of this world into a world of justice, peace and love. The good news is that we will not be disappointed with that new world. The best way to prepare for that new world is by doing what we can to help bring it about-by living in this present world in accord with the values of the gospel. Living by the ideals of Jesus Christ is the best preparation we can make for the new world that is coming.