It’s my job to get the boxes out of the garage. That’s the unofficial beginning of our Christmas preparations. Usually, I will put the lights on the tree before we add the ornaments together. The children work at putting the garlands above the doorways and the mama begins one of the Christmas cookie recipes that my grandmother made every year when I was a child.
The traditions that we practice have been handed down by generations, and who does what is just the pattern we’ve fallen into over the years. Our Christmas practices begin the first Sunday of Advent and conclude on Epiphany, the day when the church has celebrated the coming of the Magi or the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
Advent is a time of preparations. It is a four-week hustle and bustle getting ready for one tremendous day of feasting and celebration because the birth of Jesus Christ the King changed everything. That day is so wonderful that all the hard work of preparing is a joyful task that defines families, churches, and nations.
In this second week of Advent, we are preparing our hearts for the coming of the Prince of Peace. That is, the king who was born on Christmas was born to unite all of mankind in salvation under his godly rule. He is uniting all times – my grandparents to my children – and all people and all places.
The Prince of Peace, during this Advent season, is preparing you to be a minister of peace to your people and place through your words, the good news of Jesus born at Christmas, and your work of reconciliation through the sacrificial blood of that same Jesus. As the Apostle Paul has said:
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:14–17 (ESV)
Robert Campbell is a member of A Rocha USA’s Board of Directors. He also pastors a faithful and healthy church serving the people and place of Santa Margarita, California. He has earned degrees from Biola University, The Master’s Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Western University.