By the Rev. Angela C. Bosfield Palacious
While we wait for Christmas, we are called not to be passive but very active. Now active does not mean busy, in the sense of rushing or overworked; rather it is being preoccupied with things that are of eternal significance. Here are some activities to engage in before Christmas:
Ask God for grace to heed the warnings of the prophets to forsake your sins and “cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light” so as to be able to greet the coming of Jesus Christ with joy (Book of Common Prayer).
“Take off the garment of sorrow and affliction and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God…put on the robe of righteousness that comes from God” as Baruch instructs Jerusalem to do, and enjoy being called “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory”(Baruch 5 1, 4 NRSV).
When the Lord restores you, allow “[your] mouth to be filled with laughter and …[your] tongue with shout of joy”, saying, The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed” (Psalm 126:2,4 NRSV).
Join St Paul and say to relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours: “This is my prayer for you, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11 NRSV).
Become a modern day John and proclaim “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” so that you also help to “prepare the way of the Lord [to] make his paths straight” (Luke 3:3-4 NRSV). Let your life make a difference like his did:
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79 NIV)
This is what it means to get ready for a Christ-centred Christmas because you become a gift to the New-born King, as you give yourself to prayer and praise.
Let your Christmas presents remind others of the presence of God in the world. Decorate your tree and think about the light that is coming into the world. Bake your fruit cakes and think of soaking yourself in prayer to preserve the fruit of the Spirit through hardships. Allow the wreath of holly to remind you that the wreath of the grave need no longer frighten you, because you have eternal life in Christ.
How active are you at this time? Are you already engaged in the things that will make this season one that is different to the rest of your year? Are you focusing on sin, forgiveness, repentance, deliverance, righteousness, joy and salvation, along with trees, wreaths, cakes and gifts?
Let this Advent be one of action. Work on your attitude, conduct, and character while you wait for Christ to arrive.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at email@example.com.