As I am writing, the sweat on my back is starting to dry, causing me to chill a little. I just finished running 3.1 miles on the treadmill at the gym; hopefully that effort will translate into running the 3.1-mile Jingle Bell Run in two weeks in downtown Indianapolis.

Ann and I decided a few weeks back to put the event on our calendars so that we would stay motivated to run. She had been running with her children in their cross country training; I was running just because I could.

But with cold, dark weather coming, we both knew it would be hard to keep hitting the pavement.

It was a good goal really, choosing a race in mid-December, when all attempts at maintaining a healthy schedule are in vain if we aren’t careful. In fact, we probably should have also chosen a race in late November, because my busy schedule during that time put my training in serious jeopardy. In fact, until this evening, I was pretty sure that I was not going to be in shape to run the race.

Tonight, when I made it through a dry run with a week and a half left to go, I’m pretty sure I will be able to do it. I just need to stick with my training over these next few busy days.

I couldn’t help but think of the Advent season as I was aching and panting and sweating profusely this evening. Advent is a good spiritual goal for us all in this season when shopping and partying and wrapping would otherwise distract us from the healthy spiritual pursuits we all know we need.

Without Advent, I might go the whole month of December and never even think about Jesus until Christmas Eve. Advent helps me with the discipline to come daily to Jesus during this month, however, and to anticipate his comings.

This running goal of ours was also a chance to start over, in a sense. Since I fancy myself a runner, I should really be in good enough shape at any time to run a 5k. That’s not something I should have to train for. But I get busy, and I don’t put in the miles, and suddenly, I realize I need to begin again if I’m going to be in that kind of shape.

Advent is also a time to start over, to remember to do what we should have been doing all year long. Even though Advent comes at the end of the year, this season of expectation is actually the beginning of the church calendar

In a sense, Advent is like New Year’s Day for Christians. It’s a time to resolve again to look for the coming of Jesus in everything we do.

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Today’s Bible Reading

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Other Advent Thoughts . . .

Keep It Simple Sister from Llama Momma

Pregnant with Christmas from The Gypsy Mama

and more from Mark Roberts, this time from The High Calling: Waiting for the Shepherd