Road to Renewal

Advent marks the beginning of our Liturgical/Christian Year. The Liturgical Year is one of the ways Christians and Churches unite in observing and celebrating the life, ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In 2022, Advent begins on 27 November.

Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’. It means “arrival” or “coming”. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. It focuses on the coming of Christ; not only His first coming as the Christ-child but also His second coming (Matt 24:42-44; 1 Thess 4:16-17; Rev 3:11).

The Gospel writers repeat Prophet Isaiah’s call to “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4).

Let us also prepare for the coming of our Lord. Our year-end can be filled with numerous commitments that consume much of our time and attention – deadlines to meet, closing of accounts, responsibilities to fulfil, meals and gatherings, dues, appointments, shopping, etc. Let us make time to wait on God and “Prepare the way of the Lord”.  

“Prepare the way of the Lord”: A call to repentance

This was John the Baptist’s message. God forgives us when we come to Him in repentance (Acts 3:19). John warned about the haughty attitude of those who trusted in religious pedigree (Matt 3:9). We should humbly acknowledge that we have fallen short of God’s holiness (Rom 3:23) and seek His mercy and forgiveness. The road to renewal starts with having a contrite heart; confessing our sins, turning from evil and seeking a new life in Christ. We can turn to Jesus right now! He came for us 2,000 years ago and has opened the way for all to come to God. This Advent, let our prayer be: “Lord, I repent of my wrongs and turn to You. Forgive my sins & send Your times of refreshing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen” (Acts 3:19-20). 

“Prepare the way of the Lord”: A word of comfort

Isaiah proclaimed a word of comfort to the hopeless (Isa 40:1-2). He sent this message to the Jews who had been displaced from their homeland and exiled in Babylon (Isa 39). There, they had felt forsaken by God; their many sins had caused them this misery. Of this condition, Prophet Jeremiah lamented that there was no comfort (Lam 1:2,17). However, God sent His promise to comfort the people in exile. They were not forgotten or forsaken. They were to anticipate God’s advent! God would renew the people and nation beyond their wildest imagination. 

As God’s redeemed people, we too can receive His abundant grace despite our sins and failings in life. We can look forward to a promising future and hope in Christ. “The way of the Lord” is a road of renewal, revival, joy, and peace. Let us ask the Lord to heal our brokenness and give us His shalom. “Lord, I come to you broken and futile. Renew my life as You promised the exiles when they turned to You. Amen.”

“Prepare the way of the Lord”: A call to service and action

In the ancient Near East, heralds were sent ahead of the visiting monarch to prepare the city or town for the king’s arrival. The streets had to be cleaned; the gates had to be beautified, the homes had to be decorated, and the streets had to be lined to usher the king into the city. It was a privilege to host the king and the city must give an appropriate royal welcome. 

Advent anticipates our Lord’s Second Coming. We must prepare for His imminent return. “Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes” (Matt 24:46 CSB). We must devote ourselves to the Master’s service and ministry, not to irresponsible or indulgent living (Matt 24:48-49). May our lives not be conformed to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). “Lord Jesus, renew my mind for service and ministry as I anticipate Your second coming. Amen.” 

This Advent, let us take the road to renewal. With contrite hearts, comforted hearts and devoted hearts, let us anticipate and celebrate the Lord’s Coming.

Read also: Rooted in God’s Word and Teaching

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