Study: Looking back on my life, where have I seen examples where preparation and planning have made a real difference? How can I apply these example to my current situation?
Pray: What special circumstances are you facing right now that would benefit from planning? Take this to prayer and ask the Lord for guidance and strength.
Serve: How can I help someone with their planning and preparation? How can I help them reach their goals?
It seems that in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, cooks everywhere are in their element. Baking, planning, shopping for ingredients and (of course) eating are some of the principal activities during the holiday season.
I love it!
Those who delight in feeding people begin planning their Christmas menus as soon as the Thanksgiving crowd has moved away from the table. Christmas cookie bakers are checking carefully to make certain that they have all their spices and supplies on hand. Furthermore, those who have elaborate or time consuming recipes to prepare will even set aside blocks of time – some as much as days – to insure that all will be ready for the feast.
Food is a basic need for human life. We can take it for granted, especially when we have such an abundance before our eyes. Yet we dedicate special moments to gather and feast, grateful for the people in our lives and the times we can share together.
Preparing the food, often through labor intensive and consuming effort, points out the importance of the season. We dedicate time, energy, planning, and special care to show that what we are doing is precious and sacred.
These preparations remind us that hard work and thought are sometimes necessary so that all will be in order when the celebration begins. We want to be ready, and we want to make certain that those things we can control are in order.
What’s true for food also applies to the heart. Just as time and effort are necessary preparations for a feast, so to they are crucial in our dealings with others. We know when life is going smoothly – with God, ourselves, and others; we also know when something is not right, and listening to our conscience through reason and prayer usually shows us exactly what we need to do.
Advent offers us an opportunity to examine our lives and discover how we are preparing for the coming of Jesus into our world. Such preparation includes prayer, relationships, and an examination of our thoughts, words, and actions. May we look closely and make the necessary changes to be prepared when the Lord arrives.