Preparation for Advent

The most valuable things in life are free. They are gifts from God to be received, celebrated, lived, and shared. They cannot be bought, earned, or bartered. They come as gifts, or they do not come at all. At this time of the year, we look to those gifts traditionally associated with Advent: hope, peace, joy, and love. These gifts come from God and are valuable beyond calculation. Though we can do nothing to earn them, there is much we can do to receive them. Without careful preparation, they will either pass us by or we shall receive far too little of them to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us. 

Hope comes to us as a gift as our spirits soar with God’s Spirit in anticipation of what can be. But the hope we can receive from God will largely be determined by the integrity of our daily faith as we discipline ourselves to see God already present and active in the world. 

Peace can be ours as we breathe with God the holy atmosphere of eternity. But without the regularity of faithful communion and a purity of motives, we may be too busy or distracted to hear the wings of the Dove and feel the winds of change so necessary for there to be healing and comprehensive shalom. 

Joy can be ours as we drink the new wine from God’s overflowing and bottomless cup. But joy will escape us unless we are attuned to the unexpected and surprising in our walk with God. 

Love can be ours as our hearts join God’s heart in a tender embrace of this world. But hearts unaccustomed to union with others will have difficulty communing with the Heart of the eternal. 

All these gifts can be ours, but only as we prepare ourselves for their coming. 

An Advent Prayer for Preparation

Wondrous God, in this holy season of anticipation, may we prepare for the coming of Your Son and for the receiving of those gifts only he can bring. Teach us patience and strength, purity and compassion, faithfulness and trust. May we so tend and nourish the ground of our souls that in this Advent season, the seeds of Your Spirit may sprout and grow to the glory of Jesus and for the healing of Your world. Through Christ, Your perfect gift, we pray. Amen.

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