Advent Devotionals: Day 3

Are You Ready?

Mark 1:15

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

It seems like every year the stores put out their Christmas trees and decorations earlier and earlier. Why? Because the spending during the Christmas season is what keeps many stores in business. The earlier they can start that season, the better it is for their year-end finances. The stores want you to start getting ready for Christmas. But it’s hard to get ready for Christmas in the middle of September; even while standing among the lighted Christmas trees at Costco.
What goes through your mind when someone asks, “Are you ready for Christmas?” Probably, “Have I finished my Christmas shopping?” or “Do I have my Christmas tree up?” or “Are all the plans made for the Christmas celebrations?” But how often do we think “Am I ready to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth as a Baby?” For those of us who have been Christians awhile, this probably comes to mind. But how often do we stop to ponder what Jesus Christ’s coming to earth really means?
Mark 1:15 says “The time is fulfilled,” meaning, the moment has arrived. Mark isn’t describing the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, because Jesus had already ministered in other places. Our Lord’s message was the gospel of the kingdom of God. Many Jews would hear the phrase ‘kingdom of God’ and think ‘political revolution’. But that was not what Jesus had in mind. His kingdom had to do with His reign in the lives of His people. It is spiritual, not political. The only way to enter God’s kingdom is by believing the Good News and being born again (John 3:1-7). There is only one Gospel, and it centers on what Jesus Christ did for us at the cross.
Jesus’ preaching called people to repent (turn from sin) and believe (faith in Christ). Repentance alone does not save us, even though God expects believers to turn from their sins. We also must have faith in Jesus Christ and believe His promise of salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Every Christmas we should not only be ready to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth as a Baby, but also to repent and believe the gospel. Are you ready?
Prayer: Father, I thank you for bringing Your kingdom to this earth in the person of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to not only be ready to celebrate Christmas with the giving and receiving of gifts, but also by repenting and believing the gospel.
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