BY REV. PERRY AALGAARD - WEST OKOBOJI FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH
During Christmas, we remember and celebrate Jesus’ first coming and anticipate His second coming. In preparing for the Christmas season, I have thought about Advent as: What I am doing to prepare while I wait? What I can do to be prepared? It occurred to me this year that my preparing might not be of my own doing, but from God. The question should rather be: What is the Holy Spirit getting me ready to see, hear and do?
In Ephesians 2:10 we hear about how God has created us for good: “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
God has created us to be who we are with our unique gifts and talents.
This verse from Ephesians tells us God has prepared special opportunities for us to use those blessings entrusted to our care. I have seen God use my gifts to bless others, but I also know I have failed to act on some of opportunities God has placed before me.
Matthew 25:31-46 talks about how people have the chance to love Christ as we love and care for those who are around us. We are prepared for these moments through the power of the Holy Spirit. How might God be preparing you to love and care for those around you this Advent season? Could God be preparing you to offer forgiveness for longstanding hurts? Is God preparing you to welcome someone new into your life? Is God waiting for just the right moment to answer your prayer that seems to have been ignored? The Holy Spirit might just be preparing your heart for a faith connection with God this Christmas season through the encounters you have with others.
In order to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I challenge you to take some time to slow down and listen to what God has prepared. We can open our eyes to those around us and see their struggles and concerns. We can look into our hearts and see where God may want us to change. Jesus does not just come to us at Christmas, but he is active in our lives every day. May your times of waiting and God’s preparing lead you to new blessings this holiday season of the year!