Hey Everybody, it’s Thomas with RiverCity Spokane! Welcome to Gospel Home Brew a resource from River City Spokane. May the word of God brew in you today as we continue to seek Christ in the season of Advent.
Almost three years ago, my wife was pregnant with my son Titus. I remember we were so excited about Rachael giving birth and finally meeting our son. For those of you that have children, you probably remember the anticipation that builds the closer you get to the due date. During Rachael’s pregnancy, we did the “new parent thing” and attended classes to learn all about pregnancy, birth and a little bit of parenting. During the class is when I was first warned about the “nesting stage.” If you have never had a pregnant wife, let me tell you what happens toward the end of pregnancy. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, a mom-to-be has a sudden urge to prepare for the arrival of the baby. It is a kind of natural instinct. These feelings can become very intense, and sometimes even a little overwhelming. Some of the things that you can expect from a nesting mother is the urge to clean the entire house like you have never seen, complete household projects that you have been putting off such as painting, organizing and setting the stage for the new baby. Most people would say this is a natural thing to happen so that mom is prepared for the birth of a child.
The Advent watchword for this week is Prepare and as a church, we need to enter the nesting stage as we look forward to the coming of Christ, our Messiah. Join me as we read Romans 8:18-23.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Many times throughout scripture, we see this metaphor given which compares the longing of creation and mankind for the redemption of Christ with the groaning of a woman in childbirth. I love this metaphor because it rings so true to me after watching the whole birthing process with my wife and son. Creation is broken. All of creation is aware of this brokenness and is ready to admit it, with the exception maybe of mankind. In the beginning, God made everything perfect and as he himself declared, “Good.” But after the fall, sin entered the world and began a domino effect of brokenness, sorrow, and sinfulness. Creation longs to be redeemed and set right. As Paul says in Romans, we Christians, those that have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly because we are looking forward to and longing for the redemption that we will experience of full adoption through Jesus blood.
If you are like me, you have experienced this feeling before. I usually become aware of my longing for Christ coming in times when I am most aware of my sinfulness and failure to meet the perfection of Christ. It seems Paul felt it too in Romans 7 when he describes this internal battle between his desire to do right and his flesh that drives him to do wrong. Jesus says is Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those that long for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” So ask yourself, do you long for righteousness? And I am not talking about longing that others would be righteous, but that you yourself would live in righteousness, worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Advent is a time when we recognize our need for Christ to come again to make all things right, once and for all. Just like a woman nearing childbirth, we are looking forward to joy that is coming when Christ returns. And just like a woman in the nesting stage, we ought to prepare for the coming of Christ in this time of the year. So how can we do that?
Step #1, Clean house.
Right before Titus was born, Rachael wanted to clean every nook and cranny of our tiny house. Things needed to be spotless before he arrived. The same should be true of you and I in this season of Advent. For the next couple of weeks, we need to take the time to rid our lives of the dirt and sin that has built up throughout the year. Advent is supposed to be a season of reflection and repentance. First, we need to reflect on our own lives, and pinpoint the places where we have need of repentance. Start by repenting for the places in your life that you are aware of the need for forgiveness. Then, ask the Lord to reveal sin in your life that you may not be aware of or have gotten comfortable enough with to overlook.
Step #2, Make Adjustments
A new baby can force you to make some serious adjustments to your life, which most parents do happily because of the joy of the child. Once the new baby gets here, parents cannot continue to live the same lives they did before. Trust me. Rachael and I love going to the movies. It was two years after Titus was born before we went to a movie. During this Advent, let’s take some time to looks at our lives and seek to make room for Christ. Throughout the busy year, especially during the holidays, it is easy to focus on other things and get so busy that we don’t stop to focus on Him. We may need to make some adjustments in our schedule and even in our holiday plans so that we keep our attention on what is important. This could be as simple as not attending every single holiday event that you are invited to so that you have evenings at home with your family during which you can read the Advent scriptures together. Or, this could mean giving up 1 of the 15 things that you have committed yourself to so that going forward, you will have more time to focus on Christ and his mission to see the Gospel go forth. A new baby changes everything. So should the coming of Christ in our lives, whether you are welcoming him into your life for the first time, or if you are repenting and seeking to find rest in him again.
Step #3, Pack a bag
One piece of advice given to us a soon-to-be-parents was to have a bag packed next to the door, ready to rush to the birth. Scripture is clear. We do not know the day or the hour of when Christ will return. In Matthew 25, Jesus relates the story of the ten virgins, 5 wise and 5 foolish. The wise ones were prepared, having brought extra oil for their lamps. So then, always be ready and watchful. We should be awaiting Christ with our metaphorical “bags packed”, ready at a moment’s notice to meet our Rescuer. How do we live with our “bags packed”? We stay focused, not on the what is around us, the world with its material possessions and draw to idolatry, but instead we are focused on Christ, waiting joyfully for his return.
Advent is a season of preparation.This year as you prepare for holiday parties, gift giving and time with family, prepare your own heart for the coming the Emmanuel, our blessed redeemer.
This is Thomas with River City Spokane and I pray that this advent we reflect and repent in preparation for the revealing of Jesus Christ.