So I actually did it, I gave my kids their Christmas gift early. Actually, it was a gift from my mother-in-law (although I picked it out and paid for it), but the boys were asking for it since last year. It is the new game system from Nintendo, the Nintendo Switch. And if you did the math right, you’d know that the Switch wasn’t even released yet a year ago, but that didn’t stop the boys from asking for it, they wanted it that badly.
We also ordered some games for it (it doesn’t come with any, sadly) and when they arrived we decided to give it to them early for a couple reasons:
1) they have time to get good so they can hold their own when they play their cousins over the Christmas break,
2) they have been asking for it for the past year.
The first one is just that they have enough practice time. With the Christmas break starting literally the weekend of Christmas, they won’t have the time to get good. But with the waiting, they weren’t just waiting, but they were preparing.
How, you ask? They were doing research. They were watching videos of players playing the games they wanted. That ruins the story for them, sure, but they wanted to understand the gameplay, the hidden secrets, and just how to finish the game in general. They watched reviews of different games too, so they knew what games they would incessantly ask for (and subsequently master). They would play any chance they would get when we walked by a demo system at a store or event or something.
They took it very seriously, and they were ready when they finally got it. They didn’t, however, prepare themselves for the fighting over who gets to play Mario and who controls his hat. That is the next item on the list (I pray).
Advent is about hope. Waiting. And preparation. John the baptizer tells us that there is one more powerful than we could imagine on the way. That sounds like a lot we should be ready for. But how? How can we be ready for someone who baptizes with the Holy Spirit?
Peter tells us to be without spot or blemish, which, if we are honest, is basically impossible.
But Isaiah says to know God. Proclaim God’s might and grace. Learn to recognise God working in the world. And then, perhaps we will see that we actually are without spot or blemish in the gracious eyes of God.
I’m not saying that we need to be perfect, but I’m saying that when we are prepared to see God, when we are proficient in recognising God’s works, when we can hear and make sense of God’s Word, then we see just how loved we are and how present God always has been in our lives and communities. In our repentance we see our sin and need for God. In our recognising and proclaiming God in the world we see that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
So in Advent, we prepare not for God’s entering into our lives in the future, but we are prepared to see how God is in our lives now, working, forgiving, and loving us as dear children and joint heirs with Christ.
Have a great week everyone!