Keep the Table Open

Advent is meant to be a time of looking closely at ourselves, being aware of our behavior, and focusing on living our lives according to the model that the returning Christ set for us during his first incarnation. It's also to root out any non-Christ-like behavior in our lives.

In contrast, during Advent, our culture has chosen to push Christmas time and gift giving, possibly with the hopes that the manufactured goodwill it creates will provide an atmosphere that promotes a spirit of giving and caring by showing heartwarming scenes of gatherings with family and friends, often around a Christmas meal or sitting beside a fireplace with several boxes of beautifully wrapped gifts under a Christmas tree. I have referred to these valiant efforts as encouraging a secular form of love and care for family, friends, and close acquaintances based on the amount or value that the gift given represents, now known infamously as a "quid pro quo."

But, none of that kind of giving will be done by those who love God because Advent is focused on the risen Christ who unconditionally loves all of us, whether we give really nice gifts at Christmas or not. Christ will come back to gather up those who truly believe in Him and love Him, no matter how their belief and love are expressed.

Meanwhile, Christ gives back love, life, and transformation through those who are always setting a table for others that is larger and more accommodating, and who freely invite everyone who wishes to gather around it. It's been over 2,000 years since Jesus first came, died, and was resurrected. In Matthew 24:36-44, Jesus told his disciples to watch for his return, and that no one knows when that day will come and to "keep awake."

As we do that, let's keep the table open for more of those who we want to be awake to God's love, comfort, and teachings during Advent and forevermore.

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