Are You Prepared?

How long does it take you to get ready for the day? For some it is simply a matter of jumping out of bed, stretching his arms over his head, feet hitting the floor, combing his hair with his hand, get dressed, and grab an apple on the way out of the door. For others, you might be the person that it takes a long time to get ready. Your clothes need to be just right, you shower, shave, eat breakfast, and maybe even get a few chores done before you feel prepared to meet the day. I must say that I vacillate between the two of these examples, but in either case I feel prepared for the day. I’m ready to meet those who will come across my path. 

One of the traditions that many hold dear during the Christmas season is the celebration of Advent. For those of you who do not know about Advent, it is a 4-week celebration where we remember the characters of Christmas and the values God displays throughout the Christmas story as it leads us to Jesus’ birth. It is celebrated every Sunday by lighting the Advent wreath, which is to be the focal point of our celebration and remembrance. 

We celebrate Advent every year here at CDAC. We read the stories, light the candles, everyone has a sparkle in their eyes because of the joy of the season. But this year I’ve been challenged to think of Advent differently than I’ve recently done. I received a book about Christmas traditions for pastor appreciation this year. It discusses the history of these special Christmas traditions—how they came about, what they look like now, and how they’ve impacted our celebrations of Christmas.

About halfway through the book I came across the chapter on Advent. It did talk about the wreath and the stories, but when I looked at the history, I was convicted that I got it all wrong. Advent isn’t just simply anticipating Christmas (which is a good thing). It is so much more than that. It is a celebration of Christ’s mission on this earth and that it began on that first Noel. Advent is looking forward to the whole mission of Jesus—to redeem us from our sins to live a life with Him! 

When the author was done exposing this, I was left with the question—am I prepared to celebrate all that Christ is? Am I right with God? Am I looking forward to being closer with Him? Friends, this is the purpose of Advent—to be a time of preparation to make sure that we are right with God and free in Him to be able to share His passion and heart! 

Today, as we come to Advent, I must ask if you are preparing to celebrate Jesus? There’s nothing that brings us greater joy than being close to God, and friends, this is what Advent and this season is all about. 

Give Thanks

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November is upon us. While I’m not a fan of the colder weather and the shorter times of daylight, there are so many things that I love about the month. I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary, my birthday, the birthday of my son and grandmother, and we get to celebrate those who were called to service in the U.S. Armed Forces on Veterans Day!

This is a great list of opportunities for rejoicing and celebration. In my article for the CDAC Newsletter last month, I mentioned what the purpose of life is—it is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. There seems to be a common theme between the chief end of man and all of these great things that November brings—there seems to be a response to all of the greatness that God has bestowed on you and on me. My friends, the response that we see in Scripture is the response of thanksgiving.

We have a lot to be thankful for. If I were able to write down everything that I’m thankful for, the newsletter would quickly turn into a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Instead, I want to give you 3 brief reasons why it is so important for us to be a people of thanksgiving.

1. Giving thanks acknowledges that we have been given everything. Whether it is our salvation found in Jesus or the food we eat every day or the healing that we received from a devastating diagnosis to the love of a wonderful family, by giving thanks we understand that all has been given by such a gracious God.

2. Giving thanks leads us into worship. The first words of Psalm 136 are “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good…” But then the Psalmist doesn’t simply leave it there, but he leads us into worship of God by uttering, “for his steadfast love endures forever.” Giving thanks to God can only lead us into worship because when we look at the great love, power, and provision of God, we can’t help but give thanks and worship.

3. Giving thanks is the mark of the redeemed. Giving thanks is not a natural thing for a human being to give. Thanksgiving is the mark of the children of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 states, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

If we are all about God, we will be a people who constantly give thanks. May you all have an incredibly blessed Thanksgiving season this year!

Pastor Adam K. Sellen, Lead Pastor