Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent-The Time to Remember and Celebrate!-By Rev. Dr. Johnie Carlisle, Jr.

Advent is the first season of the church year; it begins on the Sunday nearest November 30th; a day known as St. Andrews Day. There are numerous Christians who do not observe St. Andrews Day or even the Season of Advent. The season, however, is intended to assist Christian growth. The advent season has at least two vital aspects: Preparation and Expectancy.

Preparation, challenges the serious Christian to prepare mind and soul to celebrate the anniversary of Jesus’ coming as the Babe of Bethlehem. For some, this concludes the aspect of preparation, but it is also a time for the serious Christian to remember the wonderful change that took place when Jesus made entry into their hearts.

The second of the aspects of advent is Expectancy; it reminds us that Jesus is coming again to judge the world, to receive His own (the Church) and to establish His reign forever.

When I come to this most important season, I am reminded that it is a time of great celebration; a celebration of what was: the fact of Jesus’ first coming and His death to make salvation available to us. It is a celebration of what is: His entry into the hearts of those who love Him and who have invited Him to be the Lord of their lives. It is a celebration of what is to come: the assurance of His coming again!

During my thirty years as a Pastor, it was often a requirement to travel to various church meetings; I was fortunate to have capable administrative assistance who relieved me of the tasks of making hotel reservations, plane reservations, and the like; most of the time things went well. But as is the case for most frequent travelers, things don’t always go as planned. On one of my trips, when I arrived at my destination, after getting my luggage, I proceeded to the place where ground transportation was supposed to pick me up and take me to my hotel. After about an hour of “No Van Show,” I called my office to make an inquiry. My capable assistant called the host of the meeting and was told that a van was supposed to pick me up but someone had dropped the ball! In my mind were these thoughts, “what went wrong? After all my reservations were made by a competent person! The ball has never been dropped before!”

I made this trip with the assurance that all of the necessary preparations had been made. Here I am stranded in a distant city because someone dropped the ball! The attitude was it was my problem, not theirs!

Advent reminds me in a profound way that some of my travel preparations cannot and should not be left to others; preparations to meet the Lord when He returns are a personal responsibility. The advent question is who is making your preparations for the celebration of our Lord’s coming?
Special thanks to our guest blogger, Rev. Dr. Johnie Carlisle, Jr. Retired and former Pastor of First AME Church, Pasadena, CA.! Dr. Carlisle has served in many capacity during his ministry; he is also a teacher specializing in Christian Education, and Church Leadership and is in demand as a speaker and workshop facilitator.

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