December 2, 2020
“As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” (Luke 3:4-6)
We are now in the season of Advent. In a sense we are always in the season of Advent until our Lord Jesus Christ returns physically and visibly in glory. It will be a glorious day indeed!
Every Advent season we are reminded that our Heavenly Father is a God who comes to visit us because he loves us. He visited Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Even after he banished them from the garden he continued to visit them and his descendants up to today. Why does God do this? He visits us because he loves us and he yearns to have fellowship with us and to give us hope, joy, peace, pardon, truth, guidance, renewal, revival, correction, mercy and much more of himself in the midst of our darkness and desolation. He shines his light for us so that we may see because he is the Light! He gives us peace because he is the Prince of peace. He gives us hope because he is the God of hope. Two thousand years ago he visited us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ in order to save us from sin and an eternal hell through the sacrifice of his life.
He has promised to visit us again with the fullness of his glory in the fullness of time to grant us full salvation in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Until then, our Lord Jesus Christ wants to encourage and transform us. He wants to build his kingdom and change the world through us. He wants to use us to accomplish great things beyond our wildest imagination. But more often than not our sins hinder the work that the Holy Spirit wants to do through us.
This Advent season is a good time to prepare the way for the Lord to work in and through us. How do we prepare the way?
- First, we prepare the way by spending time with God in his Word and in prayer asking him for renewal in your life, your family, your church, and in our Diocese. In prayer we need to ask God to cleanse our hearts, fill us with holiness, joy and gratitude for his coming into the world. We also plead with him to rescue sinners from the dominion of sin and Satan and from the reality of God’s eternal wrath that is facing them due to their sins and impenitence. These are prayers you can add to your prayers on this Diocesan Day of Prayer.
- Second, we prepare the way for the Lord by preaching the message of repentance and the gospel of grace through faith in Christ. The good news that Jesus came into this world and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins is what our world desperately needs. As we proclaim this good news we call people to repentance from sin, to faith in Jesus Christ as their only Savior, and to a life of obedience to Jesus Christ as the only Lord of their lives.
- Third, we prepare the way for his work in our lives by taking time to examine our lives and repent of the sins of unbelief, pride, dishonestly, self-centeredness, apathy, idolatry, bitterness and unforgiving attitude toward others, sexual immorality, greed, passive-aggressive rebellious attitude toward God, disregard for one another, and other sins that stand in the way of the Lord doing great things in and through you.
These are the works of darkness that must be cast away so that the Lord can shine his light through us into the world.
This advent is a good time to cast away the works of darkness so that you can be comforted by his pardon, mercy and grace in Christ. Let this Advent be a time of divine transformation and renewal of the joy of God’s salvation in your life as we await his second coming.
I wish you all a blessed Advent season as you prepare yourself and the church to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and as we look forward to His glorious second coming.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, give us grace to CAST AWAY the works of darkness, and to put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; so that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life which is immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Felix Orji, OSB.