Advent I

November 29, 2010
 The hour has come for you to wake from your sleep,
because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13.11

When we’re not engaged with the Lord at a relational level, its like we’re asleep.  Paul tells us to wake up, that this is the time to wake up. 

This is the season of the year when we are all too aware of the limited time in front of us. Just 26 days till Christmas.  But Paul is reminding us that there is a limited amount of time in front of us when it comes to the whole of our lives, and to the life of the world, as we know it.  The time we are in is coming to an end.  Now is our time to develop a relationship with the Lord and in that relationship to develop our character.  

Paul tells us how to begin, or get a fresh start if we’ve stalled.

Let us then throw off the works of darkness…
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in deception and jealousy.
Romans 13.12-13

Waking up is not the same as getting up.  The two do not always go together.  On cold winter mornings, at some point you have to make the difficult choice to throw aside the covers and the blankets you’re huddled and snuggled up in.  If you don’t, you’ll just fall back asleep.  Paul says there are things in our lives that are like those covers and blankets, keeping up from moving forward in our relationship with the Lord, and likely pulling us in the opposite direction.  He names some marquee ones like hedonism.  But he also mentions “deception and jealousy.”  Why would they even be on the same list?

Deception, or self deception, and jealousy can be less obvious, but no less effective “works” that keep us from Christ, and keep Christ out of our Christmas this year.  

If, for instance, you are running around racking up credit card debt, and Christmas is going to be all about unnecessary and even silly spending, that could be keeping you away from Christ this Christmas.  Or if you are setting out to do everything, and please everyone and try and make the holiday perfect (which all depends on you), you could be keeping Christ out of Christmas.  If there is family drama, and feuding and infighting and you’re going to get sucked into it, that could keep Christ out of Christmas.

Paul gives us the antidote:

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 13.14

As we have been saying through our last series, making the Lord a priority takes time and money. We’ve got to be praying to him daily and giving to what he cares about (the poor and the work of his kingdom).  Here at Nativity we are taking Advent to “conspire” to do this together. It is a simple project that involves spending less, giving more, loving others and worshiping more fully. If you would like to know more, or try it yourself, just click on the “Advent Conspiracy” splash on our homepage.

Make this a great “advent” of a great Christmas.

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