Tonight (November 15) marks 40 days until Christmas. I write that not to excite in you or myself the sales hype we’re used to; I mention the number to bring to our minds a biblical parallel for 40 days.
40 is a number of shaping and preparation. Our faith family wandered in the desert for 40 years, being shaped and prepared by the grace of God then. Jesus was in the desert of temptation for 40 days practicing a solid reliance upon the Father. We now can hear a similar invitation as we near the season of Advent.
Advent is a time for prayer and focus; it’s a season of anticipation and practicing in paying attention to the person of God. We look back, in Advent, at how God took on flesh and dwelt among us; we look forward, in Advent, for when our King comes in his fullness again and all things are fully made new.
As we enter this season, I think it is wise to know the landscape we live in and recognize the embankment raised against those who desire to pay attention to Jesus in this world and walk with him, even anticipating the total recreation of all things. It is not insignificant, I think, that in this Advent season dedicated toward prayerful attentiveness, we are bombarded by materialistic attractions. It is not insignificant that instead of feeling rest in simple prayer we find ourselves frazzled by the bombardment of activities we’ve been grafted into.
Do you feel this? I do.
May we begin to prepare our hearts and souls now for this time dedicated to anticipation. Let’s not let another year become buried under beautiful distractions. Let’s enjoy the season and the holidays and enter a time of prayerful, simple anticipation together.