The word “advent” means “coming.” It reminds us of God’s coming into the world in Jesus; it also points to Jesus’ promised return to establish heaven on earth, his kingdom. Jesus came once and he will surely come again.
We usually associate Christmas with the baby Jesus in the manger, surrounded by his parents, wise men, shepherds, and assorted animals. We look forward to giving and receiving gifts around a tree. We don’t think of Christmas as a presage (a sign or warning) of God’s kingdom in the world. Think about it. In Sabbath worship we mouth the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us……”WAIT A MINUTE! What did we just say? God, your kingdom come. Your will be done. Do we really mean that? Do we really want Jesus to come, like now? We all have plans we’ve made. We have family events, weddings in January; some among us would prefer Jesus not come at least until Alabama has an opportunity to ring up another national football championship. Then there’s Spring Break. Maybe Jesus could wait until after that….and so on.
Do we really want Jesus and his kingdom to come –YET? What would that mean anyway? When we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” what do we mean? What did Jesus mean when he instructed us to pray like that?
As you prepare your hearts and minds for Christmas, think about that question. Sifting through the meaning of this prayer may lead us to depths of faith we have not considered. It may impact not just how we think of the future; it may make a difference in your daily life in the present. As we walk this Advent journey to Christmas and beyond, how will you prepare your hearts and minds? How will we prepare our world for Jesus’ coming reign? When will it begin to take place? What do you think?
Below are some opportunities to prepare yourself. Invite a friend to join you on this journey.
- Sabbath worship
- Music of the season
- Giving to others
- Reflecting on artwork inspired by Jesus (see our worship bulletins)
- Gathering with family and friends
- Inviting someone into your circle
- Stepping out of your comfort zone, so that you depend more fully on God.