Thus says the Lord:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
the son of man who holds to it;
Who keeps the sabbath free from profanation,
and his hand from any evildoing. (Is 56:1-2)
It is that time of year. Christmas is coming about and, with it, we have been deluged by Christmas songs. They have been on the air since Thanksgiving. Some stations began playing their Christmas songs earlier than that.
One of the ol’ Christmas favorites reminds me of today’s reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. You all know the song. It begins, “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not shout, I’m telling you why…”
Isaiah would finish that by singing, “The Messiah’s coming to town!”
If you think about it, though, it is true.
We spend the Advent season preparing for the coming of the Lord. Christmas is more than the celebration of a birthday. It is a reminder that the Lord will come again. If we wish to be with the Lord at the end of time, we have to “observe what is right, do what is just.” Isaiah reminds us that the person who does that will be blessed indeed.
Advent is more than secular preparation for Christmas. It is a deeply spiritual preparatory season in which we are asked to immerse ourselves so that we can remove the things in our lives that hinder us from being as close to the Lord as possible.
Recently, I heard on a talk radio station that someone had devised a “Pop Culture Advent Calendar”. I thought I was going to wreck my car when that came on. The inventor of this talked about how, when he was young, there was always “that religious Advent calendar at home” but he wanted to make something that had some meaning for today and to celebrate the past year’s achievements.
It is not about the past year. It is not about the past decade. It is not even about the past century. It is about what the Lord has done for us long past, the salvation wrought for us by our God.
A pop culture Advent calendar will not prepare us for the spiritual reality of Christmas. A thorough look into our lives will prepare us.
FAITH ACTION: Take some time to examine your life. What needs to change? What needs to be strengthened? Ask the Lord to guide your decisions so that you may prepare for the coming of His Son.