eCare - Getting Ready

Post Featured Image

eCare - Getting Ready

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.Isaiah40:3

Dear Friends in Christ,

Without a word of exaggeration the hardest working Director of Ministries to Children, anywhere, bar none is our own Lisa Tyger. Her colleagues on the Staff Leadership Team, the elders on our Session and the parents of children for whom Lisa works so tirelessly all agree: she is the best!

‘Seems as though the entire year is busy in the children’s ministries department but particularly so is the season of Advent. Lisa provides leadership for a great team of volunteers to make the seasonalStoryTime,Maranatha PartyandBirthday Party for Jesusall wonderful experiences for the children, fraught with fun and filled with teachable moments about the One whose birth we are getting ready to celebrate. All of that is in addition to the Wednesday weekly programming for children andFaith WalkandKingdom Cornerministries on each Lord’s Day. There is a great deal of cutting, pasting and gathering, sorting, writing and, significantly, praying that Lisa does during Advent. She is tireless, she is joyful, she is enthusiastic and we owe her and her family a huge debt of gratitude for the valuable contributions she makes to the Beverly Heights ministry.

Observing Lisa’s long, (mostly) happy hours of preparation for these and other activities, too numerous to mention, italicized for me a valuable lesson that I think is worth consideration by all of us. The lesson is this: in a world superintended by the Lordship of a sovereign God faithful preparation for an event is laced with significance that adds to the overall celebration of the event. In other words getting ready for the celebration is part of the celebration.

This is a truth with great theological support! Consider the people of God who waited for, longed for, prayed for and worked for the coming of Jesus Christ to earth. For thousands of years the people awaited the advent of the One Who, according to God’s promise, would deliver them from guilt and sin and alienation from God and bring them peace, joy and hope. Then, according to the Apostle Paul’s inspired word “When the time was fully come God sent forth His Son…” (Galatians 4. 4). Jesus came not a minute to late and not a day too soon but just at the right time, at the time appointed by the lordship of His sovereign heavenly Father.

Why did it take so long for Jesus to come? Why did the Father wait so long before He sent Jesus to earth? Because the preparation of the hearts of the people and the preparation of the world itself had not been completed. There were important, significant things that had to take place in the midst of the years of preparation so that when the time was just right the people would be ready to celebrate the coming of the Anointed One. Hence, the lesson: in a world superintended by the lordship of a sovereign God faithful preparation for an event is laced with significance that adds to the overall celebration of the event. In other words getting ready for the celebration is part of the celebration.

And here, it seems to me, is the practical takeaway: be sure to view your preparations for this holiday season as part of the joy of the celebration. Instead of thinking about all you have to do as a list of things that “just have to get done and over with before the real holiday begins” think of your preparation activities as significant labors that enhance the anticipation of the holiday celebration, making it rich and making the actual commemoration one that is, in the truest sense of the term, joyous.

When I returned home from Raleigh on the day after Thanksgiving I was immediately faced with a Saturday that was jammed full of necessary labors in preparation for the inauguration of the Advent season. I had the first sermon of the Advent series to complete, the Bethlehem Star to erect and arrange and the first lesson of the next Adult Sunday School Class I began teaching on Sunday to finalize. There was a great deal to do.

However, there was great joy in the preparation because I knew that if I approached my work aright, the Lord would bless me with thoughts glorious and true and my anticipation for the start of Advent would be heightened – and it was! In fact, though some commented on how hectic the start of Advent seemed to be last Sunday I confess that I hadn’t experienced any of it. Of course, the best explanation for that might be our tremendous Staff Leadership Team that works so wonderfully to shield me from confusion on the Lord’s Day so that I can concentrate on my task of preaching the Word.

But, I also think that all of the particulars of preparation and execution, when viewed as superintended by the sovereign Lord, take on new meaning and the work becomes, not drudgery but glad and meaningful effort through which the Lord speaks to our hearts. Advent becomes thereby, not 25 days of frantic activity in preparation for one day of celebration but 25 days of labor, filled with meaning and significance that rise to the peak of ultimate joy with the Advent/Christmas exclamationJesus has come – Jesus is coming again!

So, get the lights up on the house, the decorations out of the attic and your home in readiness for not only did Christ come and not only is He coming again; He comes today!

Faithfully in Him,

Rick