When Becky sears a roast on a Saturday night to go into the crockpot, I think, I preach shorter messages. She prepares a meal that cooks slowly all night long. When our family gets up Sunday morning, everyone talks about how good it smells and we can hardly wait to get home to eat. I’ve learned something from our crockpot this Advent. Please no messages to Becky, to slow cook more often!
This weekend in my message at Woodland and later that evening at another speaking engagement, I made mention of my personal challenge with learning patience. I spoke of how much I admired, Pastor Rick Sutherland, for his patience. Afterwards, one of his best friends, said to him, “He’s obviously never been camping with you!” We laughed. He assured me had good reason to have been impatient on that particular trip.
Our culture is not much for waiting are we? Our lives are filled with gadgets that make everything so convenient and fast. Becky and I used to take pictures with our Nikon 35mm camera of our children. We’d have to wait until we filled a roll with 36 pictures. It took awhile, because we had to pay for film and each print at our local camera store. (We were prudent about the shots we made; unlike with our digital cameras) After dropping the film off we’d wait a week to get the pics back. We would decide which photos to have duplicated. Another week to get those prints; then we’d mail them to family and friends. They would receive the prints several days later.
Now I take a pic with my iPhone and email it instantly to a group of friends. Fast! Free! Convenient! Excellence! I love it. Life as a passionate follower of Christ isn’t about fast and convenient. However, our salvation is free and well, and excellence is what this live about.
Christ the excellent Son of God. Our excellent Savior. The excellent sacrificial lamb!
“God paid a ransom to save you … and the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18–19, NLT)
Advent is teaching me why patience is such an admirable virtue and one of the attributes that the Holy Spirit will produces in our lives. “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” (Galatians 5:22, NLT)
Doesn’t it make you grateful that the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives? No straining! Just live a life filled with the Holy Spirit. By faith, he produces this kind of fruit in us.
“We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love,” (2 Corinthians 6:6, NCV)
Which brings me to what I learned from our crockpot. My wife, will start a crockpot meal the night before. She sears a roast with seasonings and I get happy. All through the night there will be a long, slow process taking place. In the morning she will add some other ingredients. The meat, vegetables, seasonings and a cup of good black coffee all go in there. It won’t be long for there is hearty fragrance throughout our house. She doesn’t have to call twice when it’s time for dinner. We have been waiting with a delightful anticipation. Honestly, we’ve never been disappointed. I am blessed with a wonderful wife.
The roast is served warm and tender with heaping sides of vegetables that have yielded their flavors to the mix! The long, slow process of cooking yields a meal fit for a king!
Advent is like that. It’s a slow pace, like a slow cooker or crockpot, now preparing for Christmas. Praying through the Scriptures that reveal why we needed Christ. The painful process at times when through reading those Scriptures that the Spirit of God has convicted me, and having to slow down and repent prayerfully, tearfully and sometimes having to humble myself and go to others and ask their forgiveness.
My prayer is that I will be warm and tender towards God, his church and lost people as a result of a much slower pace spiritually this Christmas. I also pray that our congregation, Woodland Church, will yield up the fragrance of our lives blended together in Christ, our sacrificial lamb. It requires patience. Many are calling out come on “Let’s Rock around the Christmas Tree!”
There will be plenty of time for Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and even Sleigh Bells. Now I need to wait and sing…
O Come Emmanuel.
O come desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
- What Scriptures have you been meditating on this Advent?
- Have you joined us the Monday fast during Advent? What have been your experiences with the fast?
- Life this time of year is busy. Has observing Advent helped you live slower on the inside?
- Any books about Advent you’d like to recommend?