Advent is a time of longing and a great time to pause to reflect on our relationship with God. This is also a good time of year to do a little spiritual tune up before Christmas Day arrives. Have you ever thought that maybe your faith journey was not firing on all cylinders? Proper maintenance is necessary to keep our spiritual engines running smoothly.
Allow me to share an analogy. Over this past year our family had a spate of car problems. Two out of our five children and I had cars that encountered serious engine failures. Both of the kid’s cars ended up in their eternal resting place, damned to the junk yard scrap heap. We need to do our spiritual maintenance to avoid the same outcome.Both my son and my daughter’s cars had their engines cease up due to lack of or delayed required maintenance. Both cars would have needed new engines. In both cases based on the age of their cars and the number of miles their mechanics advised them against doing any repairs. As stated above the cars were scrapped. Sadly my daughter had only one payment remaining. These were tough lessons learned.I have a 2007 Volkswagen Eos. This is my all-time favorite car. This car is a convertible and prior to the loss of my eye sight, I just loved driving this car. Now even with my inability to driveas a resultof my blurred vision, my wife and I still planned to keep this as a second car as long as possible through careful and regular maintenance. We anticipated that there would be many beautiful days each year when she could drive us both around with the top down on our scenic mountain roads. I had been told that my VW should easily get another 200,000 miles with regular maintenance.
Then out of nowhere my car experienced a similar problem as the kids’ cars. In my case I had meticulously cared for this car, yet for a reason unknown to the mechanic the engine ceased up. I was facing a repair bill of over $4,000 on a car with 220,000 miles. It was hard to justify thislargerepair expense on a car so old and with so many miles. So what did we do…..we fixed it. Why……because we really love this car. We had the engine completely rebuilt. It runs like new again!As stated above sometimes our spiritual lives aren’t firing on all cylinders. This time of year can make us all so anxious. We can get caught up in the secular aspects of Christmas. We can drive ourselves crazy shopping. We wear ourselves out. Eventually we realize that Advent is passing us by. This is a kin to knowing that the oil in our car needs to be changed but not stopping to do so. If we are not careful our souls can end up in the scrap yard too.
Try to make time each week from now until Christmas to check the maintenance records for your soul. Stop yourself long enough to pull out the dipstick and see if your spiritual oil is running low. Check your timing belts, look at the wear on your tires, and make sure your antifreeze has been changed. Are you praying daily? God gave us an owner’s manual called the Bible; sadly some of us never get it out of the glove compartment and read it? Our owner’s manual guides us through many things that can enhance our ability to be good disciples. These things certainly include prayer, almsgiving and fasting in addition to loving God and loving our neighbor.It is also critically important to have a good mechanic for our cars. Thankfully we have the best possible mechanic for our souls and that is Jesus Christ. No matter what shape our soul is in, He can repair it. When we follow Christ’ teachings, none of us need worry about ending up in the eternal scrap heap. No damage is beyond His grace and mercy.Look at what Paul tells us in Phil 1:6 “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Christ is ready to complete any work in us that we need if we just allow him to.
In just a few weeks we will celebrate Christ’s birth. We know He came so that we can have eternal life. Let’s allow Him during these days of preparation to direct us towards any necessary maintenance that we need. To keep our souls running well in the New Year maybe we can commit to locating, dusting off and spending more time with that owner’s manual.Lord Jesus I authorize you to do any needed repairs to my soul, amen!