There are some traditions in the church that don’t need to be regarded as obsolete. We need to continue to practice them, not as a religion but as part of our relationship. After all we don’t neglect celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. In fact, in recent years it seems as we try to outdo one another in how much fanfare we can attach to a milestone event. Yet, when it comes to certain practices in the church, we feel as if they are somehow out of touch with our world today. 

Advent is still celebrated in some of our more traditional churches, but many of our contemporary churches have never made it a practice. Just as we celebrate Christmas and prepare extravagantly for it, so should we prepare our hearts in honor of the Christ of Christmas. Joel 2:13 (KJV) declares:

And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Over this past year there is hardly one of us who can say that we have not sinned, in thought, word, or deed. Each of us have probably offended someone, or suffered offense. We could go on and on, but suffice it to say, there is none among us who could not use a "heart-washing". 

As we approach this season of advent, wouldn’t it please the Lord if each of us spent more time in prayer and Bible reading than preparing gifts and celebrations? If we took the time to share with our children and other family and friends what special words of life have meant something to you this year; what special times with the Lord have carried you through difficult times; what unexpected blessings have come your way. 

For surely, looking ahead to the greatest event known to man – the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is something we should recognize above all else.

Maria