By Brooke Holt
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Psalm 122:1)
In Psalm 22, King David rejoices at going to the house of the Lord. He acknowledges the great joy and honor it is to be among God’s people and in God’s presence. For the nation of Israel, worship was the time of unity experienced through lifting their hearts and minds to the living God.
The season of Advent is much like the call to worship. God’s people are invited to be searched and known by the Lord that he may reveal sin and lead them in the way everlasting (see Psalm 139:23-24). It is a season of differentiating from the world and their fascination with Santa Claus, Christmas parties, and decorations. None of that is bad; it should not be the primary focus for the disciples of Jesus Christ.
Instead of focusing on these frivolities of the world, you are called to remember the baby born in a manger, to receive the fullness of the gifts given through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to be transformed by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, and to be preparing yourself for the day when Jesus will come again.
How do you do that? It begins with worship, gathering together in unity to lift high the name of Jesus. Then, allow the Lord to search and know your heart. Are you hungering for the Lord or for the things of this world? Are you seeking fulfillment in the kingdom of God or the kingdom of this world? Are you experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit or are you fulfilling the desires of the flesh?
The invitation of Advent is to come to the house of the Lord. There, you remember what Jesus has done in his incarnation, look ahead to what Jesus will do when he comes again as the Lord of Lords, and experience the Holy Spirit’s conviction, guidance, and sanctification for today.
Do you view your time in the house of the Lord as preparation time? Do you recognize the joy and privilege you have in being there? How can you prepare your heart each week for time in the house of the Lord? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Christmas is the festival of rejoicing at Christ’s first coming—the beautiful, unlikely start of our salvation! As the season ends each year, we pack up the decorations. Advent, on the other hand, is a bigger celebration—one we can’t box up and store in the attic. It celebrates the grace of Christ’s first coming, and then it reaches with restless anticipation for the fuller grace of his second appearing and the completion of our salvation! For 28 days, celebrate Advent. In Prepare the Way, join with St. Paul, King David the Psalmist, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, along with the crowds as they rejoiced in the good news of Christmas, and then look beyond it for the holiday that never ends!
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