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Pastor’s Corner Pastor Mark Keefer, pastor, Chapel Methodist Church Gladbrook, Iowa

November 15, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
Finally, the elections are over and the media can start watching all the Christmas commercials. Our focus can switch from ‘who to vote for’ to ‘what to buy for whom.’ On top of that, it seems winter is a little ahead of schedule. A local newscast got me to thinking. With the early advent of this cold weather, a news item focused on having our cars prepared for winter driving. We need to get our antifreeze checked, make sure batteries are fresh, and be mindful that cold weather can affect our tire pressure. All that and more are necessary to ensure we aren’t literally stuck out in the cold. Something in that message on preparation and safety for our cars had me reflecting on the advent of something else. As our Thanksgiving season passes, we will be moving into the season of Advent in the church. Just as we need to have our vehicles prepared for the winter season ahead, it is also important that we have our spirits prepared for the celebration of a very significant event. The term ‘Advent’ derives from a Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Something exciting and wonderful is on the horizon, and we should be in preparation for it. This is more than setting up the tree and decorating the house inside and out. More than organizing a family dinner and gifts. This is a season to prepare for the coming of Christ in various meanings: the promised coming of the Messiah to the Jews, the coming of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, and the promised return of the risen Christ in final victory. These are the prophetic expectations of the Christmas season. I believe there is one more meaning to the Advent season – the continual coming of Christ into the lives and hearts of believers. Now that may seem to exclude those whose celebration of Christmas in a mere secular fashion. It does not. The Good News of the Christ that was born to die for the sins of all mankind is this: God loved the entire world. He gave his one and only Son, so that no one need perish. By believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life, a life better than they ever dreamed of. Have you ever struggled with that idea? That the Creator of the universe cares for all people, including those who disavow Him, those who have made remarkably poor choices and committed seemingly unforgivable crimes. No. God’s love and forgiveness is available to all who will call on Him. Jeremiah 29:12 (in the Old Testament) assures us, “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.” This Advent season is the opportunity to call upon God. Let Him listen to your pleas for a more abundant life. Advent is the season of preparation. Be prepared to have God make a significant change for you. God has a plan for each of us. When we follow His plans for us, He will give us a future and a hope. In preparation for this coming celebration of Christ’s birth, give God a chance. Take yourself to worship and make preparations with other seekers and believers. For now, have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. See you in worship.


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