As we eat the remaining leftovers from Thanksgiving our thoughts turn to the coming season of Christmas. What are we doing to prepare for the celebration? Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love, the season of Advent. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


This time of year is a time of preparation, preparing for a season of giving, getting, fun, frenzy and exhaustion. Just like preparing for a race, the Christmas season leaves us with much to do. In churches at this time of year we hear about the Advent season. Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas. Each Sunday we focus on the blessings from God as we lead to Christmas Day, You’ll hear about Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. But what are we really in preparation for? 


I am amazed at the amount of time it takes to prepare for the race. Teams arrive hours ahead of the race and spend that time on getting the car ready for the track. The time spent at driver’s meetings, time trials, practice and don’t forget chapel service. Obviously, the winner did not get to Victory Lane by deciding to race that day and showed up at the track just a few minutes before the race began. There is a lot of preparation that goes into racing. 


So why does preparing for Christmas really matter? We run around trying to find the perfect gifts, getting ourselves into debt and sometimes mumbling about how we can’t wait for this season to be over. The marketing world can get us so worked up about buying that we forget the true meaning of the season. Are we just trying to show those close to us how much we care about them? Isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about? 


If we look back in history we will find that giving gifts for Christmas is actually a relatively new thing. It wasn’t until around two hundred years ago that gifts started to be exchanged (before that it was considered an insult to give gifts on Christ’s birthday) and if a gift was given then it was a simple handmade or inexpensive gift so as not to make someone feel ashamed about the worth of their gift. Commercialism started to take over somewhere around 60 to 70 years ago. From there it has spiraled out of control. We have all fallen into the trap of buying bigger and better gifts than the year before. Can we even remember what we received the year before?


When we look into the meaning of Advent we find it means “to come to” or “an arrival” and that it refers to Christ’s coming into this world. 



Luke 2:8-20, The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”


Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,


“Glory to God in highest heaven,

    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”


When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”


They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.    



However, Advent has another meaning; it refers also to Christ’s second coming as He has promised to come back again.



Revelation 21: 1-4, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.


I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”



We focus our thoughts on the birth of Christ at Christmas. As Christians though we should also be looking for the second coming of Christ. It should remind us that He is found within us every day, we are never alone and one day he will come back in glory so that we might share in God’s Kingdom with Him.


By bringing the true meaning of Christmas back in front of us we will be able to let go of the pressure of thinking that it is all about finding just the right gift, how much money to spend this year, which party to attend and do we go to the grandma’s house or just stay home this year? 


If we take the time to slow down and step back from all the frenzy we will find the moments that bring us the most joy. What would happen if we spent less time shopping this year? Perhaps we wouldn’t spend the next few months trying to pay it off or catch up with the bills? 


Advent reminds us of the Hope, Joy, Peace and Love we have in Christ.


Romans 5: 1-5, Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.


We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.



As we spend time looking into what Christmas should be about, maybe we can let go and focus on thanking God for the gift He gave us with the birth of Christ and the promise that He will come again. 


When we look at the gifts that we can give, we should all realize that the best gift is our time. By helping those in need, visiting a lonely person, giving a friend a call or praying for a closer walk with God we will let go of the need to compete with those around us and the true reason we celebrate Christmas will follow us long into the New Year. 


Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.