Hello, dear friends of Jesus! This Sunday is the beginning of Advent – a season of preparation for the arrival (“advent”) of our Lord Jesus. We can think of this in several different ways including: Jesus’ first arrival as the Christ-Child, his ongoing arrival to us through his Word and Sacraments, and his final arrival on Judgment Day. The readings for Sunday will be Psalm 122; Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44. For most of us, the word “sleep” is a beautiful word! It represents rest, refreshment, and renewed energy – something that is much-needed and well-deserved after a busy and work-filled fall season. Our readings describe another kind of sleep that is not good for us at all – spiritual sleep. Think of this as a kind of apathy, lethargy, or inattentiveness to the needs of our spirit. And rather than revitalizing a person, this kind of sleep can kill. God’s Word is our wake-up call. It’s a call to give serious attention to those areas of our lives that need to change. It’s a call to listen carefully to the promises of Christ and to live by those promises. In these next four weeks of Advent consider the following questions: What are the biggest distractions from spiritual growth that you and your family face? Are there aspects of your faith where you are experiencing spiritual apathy? Let these questions and their answers be at the heart of your prayers as you ask Jesus to “stir up” your spirit with the expectation of his coming.