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The calendar year has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

The Church Calendar has a different set of Seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Kingdomtide. Each season of the Church Year celebrates a different aspect of Christ's life.

ADVENT marks the beginning of the Church Year; Advent begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day and comes to an end on Christmas Eve. Advent is a time for us to prepare our hearts and minds and lives for the newness which Christ brings to life. Advent is a season to invite Christ into our hearts and lives, and to make him our King and Decision-Maker.

"The King shall come when morning dawns and light triumphant breaks; When beauty gilds the eastern hills and life to joy awakes!

The King shall come when morning dawns and light and beauty brings; Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray: Come quickly, King of kings!" So wrote a Greek hymnist many centuries ago.

What does Advent mean for us?

"A" is for His arrival! Christ, the Son of the Living God, has arrived in our world. Christ comes suddenly, and in a way we least expect. We never know when and where and how God will knock on our door; let's be prepared!

"D" stands for Deity! The God who created all things, who fashioned the universe, stands before us in the flesh-and-blood Jesus. We cannot see a God who is Spirit; therefore God comes to us in a form we can see and hear and feel and understand. Jesus is God-in-the-flesh!

"V" is for Venture! Christ comes by where we live, and calls us to come and follow where He goes. He challenges us to venture out, to turn away from the sin-filled life we enjoy into a life that is a thousand times better!

"E" stands for Extra! Christ always adds something extra to our lives ---

Where there is hatred, He adds love. Where there is sorrow, He adds joy. Where there is strife, He adds peace and calm. Where there is separation, He adds mercy and forgiveness. Where there is despair, He adds hope. Where there is apathy, He adds concern. Where there is need, He adds a helping hand and a word of cheer. Life would be dull and drab without the "extras."

"N" is for New! Christ makes everything and everyone new. People in former days thought that they would welcome the Messiah when he came, and go on living as they always had. Not so! When Christ comes by, all of life is changed! Our ideas about God and about the world are changed; our beliefs are changed; our way of relating to God is changed; our manner of relating to other people is changed. When Christ comes, we can no longer think and talk and act as we have in the past; He changes everything!

"T" stands for Time! Christ comes when He is ready to come; not when we are ready. We can wish for His coming; we can pray for His coming; He comes in His own good time. If we are prepared to welcome Him, Christ will come in; if we are prepared to invite Him into our lives, Christ will gladly enter in. If we are unprepared, Christ will pass us by. Advent is the time to prepare our hearts and lives, so that we are open to His coming!

ADVENT! God-in-Person is coming to our place! Let's welcome Him with enthusiasm; let's invite Him in and put Him in charge of our lives.

Let's offer Him the best that we have. Let us find peace and joy in His presence.

--DON KUEHLE IS A RETIRED UNITED METHODIST MINISTER WHO LIVES IN JACKSON, MO. OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.

Religion on 12/11/2019

Print Headline: ADVENT: A Time To Prepare Hearts, Minds, Lives For Christ

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