The Coming of the Lord

What a wonderful, anticipatory phrase “the coming of …” is. Especially, the coming of the Lord. We know this as Advent, a season of preparation. In years gone by many preparations were made for Christmas – there was the ritual of stir up Sunday, making the Christmas pudding, putting in the sixpence, making Christmas food and making and storing presents. This took place before Advent which used to be a penitential time to prepare the Soul to receive Jesus.
I remember in my childhood that we prepared the house for Christmas on Christmas Eve. There were obviously some practical arrangements made during Advent. But there was a contrast between Advent and Christmas in a way which is hard to see now. Advent has become a preparation season for Christmas. With all the Carol Services, School Services and Christmas fayres, it is a very busy time. And yet we still need to prepare ourselves in a spiritual way to receive Jesus otherwise something very precious is lost. It can easily become a mad commercial selfish festival devoid of any real meaning. The phrase that Christmas is really for the Children could not be further from the truth!
In our hearts we long for the presence of the Lord, Jesus Christ, who comes to us in human form to save us from ourselves. If you are expecting to receive visitors into your home this Christmas would you do so without any planning? Thus it is with Advent that we embrace the richness that it has become but also spend some time making ourselves ready to receive Jesus afresh in our hearts. The joy of Christmas is to be found in the coming of God.

Mark Binney