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From The Rectors Desk - December 6, 2018

This past Sunday we entered the Advent season in the life of the Church. While the world around us is busy putting up lights and decorations and generally making ready for what seems to have been reduced to the great happy holiday turkey dinner and gift exchange in December, Scripture paints for us a very different picture. While decorating and making ready for this feast is fun and enjoyable, the Church calls us to go deeper than the shallow superficiality of our culture’s materialism.

This season is indeed a season of preparation, I hope and pray that in addition to decorating our homes and making ready for Christmas morning and Christmas dinner, we might also all enter into the Church’s Advent rhythm of making ready our hearts for Christ’s coming. In this season, make ready to celebrate the birth of our newborn King and more importantly we make ready to receive this same Christ the King when he comes again in glory to judge each and every living soul and each and every soul that ever lived.

The following prayer or collect for the Advent season, which has been prayed faithfully by
Anglican Christians since the year 1549, when under the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, the first English Prayer Book was published reminds us that we are in a season of preparation. We pray this collect throughout the Advent season.

“Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the
works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now
in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ
came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when
he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the
quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through
him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

This collect is based upon the following passage from Romans Chapter 13. “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” verses 11-14.

So how do we prepare ourselves to receive Christ on the great and glorious day of his return, known only to God himself? We are to pray that by the grace of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we may all cast away the works of darkness and the destructive ways of the world. We are to pray that we might walk properly in the paths of God, not living and behaving as those ignorant of the love of God and of his Word. Advent is a season where we quite literally ask God to purge from us the clutter, the dirt, the sin within so that he may dwell in us and we in him.

“Let every heart prepare Him room” this Advent season.

Yours in Christ,

David Thurlow