As the 2015-16 church year ends, we enter Thanksgiving. This really becomes the first thing we do in the new church year. I heard an awesome story last Sunday. One of the kids from our congregation thought I said that it was the last Sunday of church, rather than the last Sunday of the church year. (How ironic since we were just talking about missing words and how they can impact how we view things. Remember in last week’s blog when we talked about missing the word “love” in our Bible text and just seeing money as the root of evil, when the Bible really says it’s the love of money being the root of evil.) Anyway, this little kid was sad that we weren’t going to have church anymore, since it was the last Sunday. He was happy to hear the correct explanation of what I meant. (I remember as a kid asking if church was off for the summer just like school. I am glad this little guy has a better view of church.) I love that this kid was rejoicing that we were going to keep having church.
Our church year is full of ways to prepare us for the upcoming weeks and days. Wednesday night’s Thanksgiving service is just the beginning. We’ll spend time thanking God for this year. We thank God for the wonderful ways He provided, and as our little member reminded me, we thank God for another year of church. We thank God we can worship together. We thank God for a church that has people to reach. We thank God for servants ready to serve. Our little friend reminded us to be thankful for the little blessings in life. We thank Jesus for rescuing us, we thank Him for His great love, and we thank Him for coming in this season of Advent.
Advent is a season of preparation and waiting. Kids count down the days until Christmas. Those But really, Advent preparation began way back in Genesis after the fall. God’s people now had to wait and prepare for God to restore them. They had to wait many, many years, way longer than our kids, or grandkids, have to wait for their presents. Yet, everyday they prepared themselves for Jesus’ coming. Finally He came, but oddly enough, most weren’t prepared. They didn’t expect Jesus to show up like He did. They had let their human eyes guide their expectations.30 or so days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, seem like forever to them.
What I love about the little kid from our congregation is that he celebrates every time Jesus shows up! He celebrates Jesus showing up each Sunday. This season, I don’t want to be so busy preparing that I miss Jesus showing up. I don’t want to be so busy thinking about the next things on my list that I miss the chance to thank Him for the little blessings. I pray that, as believers, we are thankful and celebrate the way Jesus continually comes and blesses us. He shows up every time we hear His Word, and He shows up in our fellow believers with whom we gather. In the season of Advent, we take more time to come to services – Wednesdays and Sundays. We want to put ourselves in places where Jesus shows up, especially as we prepare for the Second Advent, the final day Jesus will come and take all believers in Him to heaven.
Starting with Thanksgiving Eve service, we will meet during the week and on Sunday. It is a time to prepare for Jesus to show up! He always does, just not how we always expect. Thanking God every day can put us in a mindset of preparation for a Savior that knows the needs we have even when we don’t know them. Advent is a wonderful season! The world will try and throw us off track, and get us to miss out on the gifts of God. I pray that we return to our Lord every morning, thanking Him for a new day, and praying that we can truly celebrate this wonderful season when He came to redeem us. May we be like little children just waiting for Sunday, and in this season, Wednesday also!