During this holiday season, many assemblies and individuals take part in a religious tradition called Advent. It is the four Sundays and weeks leading to Christmas. Advent is a time of reflection and hope as people prepare and recognize the real meaning of Christmas and the coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, the word “Advent” in Latin means coming.
There are three meanings of coming that Christians detail during Advent
- Jesus’ 1st coming to the world over 2,000 years ago
- Jesus’ 2nd coming is into our hearts and our lives
- Jesus’ 3rd coming is when Jesus will return to the word as righteous King and Judge
Of the many ways that Advent is counted down, the most popular are calendars and candles. The calendars have little windows with different daily gifts and pictures. The Candles are arranged in a wreath or on a candelabra - three purple candles and one pink.
So…what’s the point.
All of this effort is to prepare for and celebrate the coming of Jesus. My question for you is are you prepared?
The other day I was giving my father-in-law a ride home. During the journey, he showed me pictures of his Christmas decorations and told me about annually winning for best decorations. I was somewhat intrigued but it was what he said as he prepared to exit my truck that caught my attention. He lamented, “We decorate and do the most for a child’s first birthday, why not decorate for the celebration Of Jesus, our Lord and Savior’s first birthday.
Take a look at Psalm 51:1-19.
This 19 verse chapter is an extremely transparent moment between David and God. David has done something against God and his Kingship. He impregnated a married woman (Bathsheba) then had her husband (Uriah) killed in battle. But, it was when Nathan the prophet addressed David’s sin that David began to relent and become truly repentant. (2 Samuel 12)
In Verses 1- 12 of Psalm 51, David was adamant about recognizing his wrongs and seeking forgiveness. The transition to gratitude and how he would express it took place in the last seven verses.
Just as we eagerly prepare for family, friends, and house guests for Christmas - I am challenging you to consider if you have cleaned up for Jesus’ return home.
Here are three things to consider as you clean:
1. Recognize your dirt
“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.[a] 5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:4-5)
If you don’t recognize it is dirty - you won’t make effort to clean it.
Sin is missing the mark - not by being off target a little bit but like an archer that knows his target and shoots in a different direction.
The intriguing thing about David’s open moment with God was that he had no remorse for his actions until Nathan met with him. By that point, the child was born and had been on the earth for some undisclosed amount of time. David had justified and forgotten his actions and may have never relented had he not been called on his behavior. That was nearly a year after the initial action. Dirt is relative to the individual. We tend to focus on the “big” sins when even the little sins carry the same weight. Dirt is dirt and it all needs to get cleaned.
2. Determine your cleaning process
When you have guests, do you only clean what can be seen or your entire home? Do you start with one area and clean really throughly then progressively diminish your efforts as you address other areas of your home? The same effort you put into cleaning one part should continue throughout the house or you. God desires us completely - we need to consider all of our life as we pursue a life of righteousness. Admittedly, I am not that great at cleaning up. I neglect areas and get lazy about things I don’t want to clean. But, thank God for help. Understand, there are some things you can’t clean alone. I love the show hoarders. It’s interesting how people on the show don’t see their collecting as a problem until it has severely limited their quality of life. As bad as they want to fix it, it takes the employed efforts of family and professionals to restore and repair their dirty situations. Who is willing to help you clean? Is their an area you are struggling to complete clean up? With God anything is possible - He’s an extreme clean agent.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
3. Make it a lifestyle and not an occasion (Psalm 51:17) -
Here is a simple one. When we get in the mode of maintaining the areas that tend to attract dirt, cleaning is not an arduous process. Before my brother married my dentist, I neglected the dentist for a good amount of time. Although I ate well and brushed regularly, my absence from a good cleaning created issues. When I visited the dentist, she told me that the cleaning she needed to do would take multiple visits to get the deep results. I didn’t enjoy those sessions but I was better because of them. Don’t neglect those cleanings with Christ.
Quick tip: Some things take longer to clean than others. Instead of getting frustrated at how long it is taking - trust that you will be better soon and the maintenance will be easier than the repair.
2 corinthians 5:17 - This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Here is my close:
I often refer to the story of the children israel when i teach because of the depth of information in their journey. For today, there is one particular thing that stands out. Moses is standing at the Red Sea’s edge with a multitude of individuals behind him. God gives him the directive to move. Moses stretches his hand out points with his staff and the red sea splits. The bible says that they crossed on dry land. Mud leaves tracks and dry land (not sand) doesn’t leave a trail. The spiritual washing that God wants to do in your life is saying this for you today - the trail to your past was erased when you stepped into this cleansing process in christ. Not only was your trail erased so were pharaohs army, which mean even the things that are pursuing you will be wiped away as well. He has wiped it all away to clean you up. Don’t pick up what God has helped you to release
Jesus is coming home - will you be ready?