It’s always fun at our house getting all of the Advent decorations ready. We get out the big box with the word “Advent” written on it. My wife pulls out all the porcelain Advent figurines and puts out the Advent candles. Then it’s time to bake all of our favorite Advent recipes: like Advent cookies, and even Advent candies. Then we dig further into the box and get out our Advent lights and plug them in to make sure they all work and then we hang them on the house. We’ve got our Advent wreaths, and Advent pictures, and Advent streamers. Of course you’ve probably already had your Advent decorations up a lot sooner than we did; we always seem to get behind this time of year.

Why do you look so confused?

Do you not have any Advent decorations?

You don’t have Advent wreaths? No Advent candles? No Advent cookies or Advent figurines or Advent streamers and pictures? So I guess no Advent lights on the outside of the house, either.

Well, actually neither do we. We’ve got lots of Christmas decorations. That’s true. But right now it's Advent. So why can’t we go to Target and get Advent decorations?

That’s because Advent happens within, inside, our heart of faith. Advent is a season to prepare our souls for the coming of Jesus Christ. And the best preparation, the best way to decorate our homes for Advent, is to repent of our sins, to come clean about our sinfulness and seek forgiveness. Sure it doesn’t seem like much fun; maybe we would rather just have some Advent decorations. And a lot of people would agree with you: repentance doesn’t sound like much fun. But repentance is a beautiful and happy thing. Repentance brings along with it blessings that make Christmas, that make the rest of the church year, that make our Christian lives better. Seize the blessings of repentance.

Luke 3:4, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."