Preparing for Jesus

Pastor Todd writes a weekly piece for the website, We are re-posting his piece for today as it points to one way you may prepare your family for the Season of Advent.

Rick handed me a clipped article from one of his preaching magazines. Written across the top of the first page, “Let’s do this.” As Associate Pastor, that meant, “I want you to do this.”

One of the ways I participated in our weekly worship came in spending a few minutes with the children of the church, Children’s Time. Technically we may have referred to it as a Children’s Sermon.

What Rick, my mentor and the Pastor, wanted me to do was inaugurate an Advent Celebration with the Children. 

Growing up Southern Baptist in the South often means fully living into the Free Church Tradition. No magisterium tells us what to preach or when. Except of course during the missionary offering emphases. I digress.

Advent observances were considered Mainline and high church. Low church traditions shunned these practices to maintain the, “We are not like them,” feature of our self-identity. So, when Rick wrote, “Let’s do this,” I had to get up to speed, and quick. That was 1986.

For the past 26 years the churches in which I have participated share in the Season of Advent. We utilize the colors of Advent, the stories of Advent, and hope to re-create the themes of Advent. We prepare for Jesus.

About a dozen years ago I happened onto a little book by Walter Wangerin, Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom. I wanted to find a way to help our two girls grasp the spirit of Advent. Each day we would take a chapter of the little book and use it as our devotional. The format of the book provides a reading for each day beginning with December 1.

Something I learned as we moved to follow the Christian Seasons Calendar was that Christmas lasted more than a day. No, this does not mean the continued giving of gifts, eating turkey and ham, and entertaining visiting family for an extended period. Instead, rather than race to get past the exhausting cultural observances of Christmas, we learned the value of lingering with the meaning of the coming of Jesus, not just the anticipation of a promise fulfilled.

Wangerin’s little book features not only readings for every day until December 25, but also the days of Christmas that follow in the Christian Season of Christmas. Walter Wangerin is a great storyteller. I recommend helping your family prepare for Jesus and if you need a place to start with inaugurating a celebration of Advent, Wangerin’s book is a good resource to use.

Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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