RE_Words“Do it again”. As small children my boys would repeat these words to recapture the thrill of some moment or activity they loved. TV sports have been changed by the instant replay, and we mark the passing of time with repeated family rituals on holidays. Repetition is how we learn, how we find comfort, and how we establish tradition.

A significant portion of our lives is consumed by doing the same things day after day. We often drive the same way to the same job, looking for “our” spot in the parking lot. We go to church and want to sit in “our” pew. We repair things that don’t work, or we replace them with things that do work. We shop to replenish the groceries in our pantry, re-mow the same yard, and “reclean” the same house…over and over and over.

We repeat a request that is ignored, rewrite a paper, or reheat leftovers. Adding the prefix “re” to the beginning of a word indicates the idea of doing that action again. Have you ever noticed how many of the words that describe God’s activity in the life of man begin with the prefix “re”?

When God created Adam, He formed man’s body with his hands and breathed his spirit into that body and gave it life. Thousands of years later, in response to the prayers of His people, God recreated himself as a human baby. That baby grew into the one who would sacrifice his own life to redeem his people and restore their relationship with God so that they could receive eternal life. His body was resurrected from the grave so that we could repent and renew our hope in the future without fear of death.

I suspect that part of what we are supposed to be doing during Advent is refocusing our attention from what usually happens to what God is continuing to do. When we intentionally look for God’s activity in our world, we find that He is still working for good in the hearts of those who love Him. We discover that He is still seeking relationship with His people. We are delighted by the presence of the one who has never stopped loving and saving and speaking to His people…and He will do it again, over and over, until He calls us to a new life that we can barely imagine now.

God doesn’t require our perfection before we are welcome in His presence. He is patient with our flaws and our fears. But He wants us to stop repeating the sins of our past, repent, and return to a deeper relationship with Him. He wants to give us a fresh sense of His power and presence so that our faith is renewed and our joy is rekindled. Perhaps the best way to celebrate Advent is to stop going through the motions of what you’re used to doing, and look for God to interrupt your expectations with new perspective on who He is and on who He is recreating you to be.

Advent is the anticipation of His coming into our world. As you look back over your relationship with God, consider the most holy moments you’ve had in His presence and ask Him to “Do it again”.

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