Due (Cassandra Millis)

My senior thesis was due one fateful Saturday at noon. It was 6:00 in the evening the night before, and I had yet to write a single word. By midnight, I was too hyped up on coffee to focus on anything and was lying on the floor of my friend’s dorm room wondering how in the world it was all going to get done, however by 5:30 in the morning I had 17 pages on the impact of James Davenport on the Great Awakening. (He was most well-known for removing his pants during a sermon and throwing them into a fire to protest the worldliness of the church. And you thought history was dull.) Many of us are far too familiar with this type of procrastination and as much as I can’t say I recommend it, I’m terrible at changing my ways.

One of the many reasons I appreciate Advent is that it doesn’t allow me to procrastinate. If the celebration of Christmas is meant to remind us of the miracle of God sending His Son to earth save humanity, it’s pretty hard to observe Advent but only remember to celebrate this miracle on Christmas Eve. We’ve got four weeks of it! Five candles to light. A whole month devoted to nothing other than the coming of Christ. Lent is the same way. You can’t reflect on Easter one Sunday of the year. The church calendar doesn’t let you.

In the story of the angel appearing to Zechariah about the birth of his son, John, the angel says “ and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1: 17) Advent is about focusing our minds on different things; reminding us of childlike innocence and peace and goodwill toward man. It’s also about focusing on the greatest gift ever given, that of Jesus Christ. John comes to return the gift to God by providing for him a people prepared for His arrival. Our gift in return is to prepare ourselves, to not put off thinking about the gracious miracle of Christmas, to not procrastinate refocusing ourselves on what really matters- putting off our selfish natures, and celebrating the love of God.

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