There’s something in the Bible that I’ve preached about before called the Nazarite vow. While there are a number of things that we don’t know about this ancient tradition — like its duration and who exactly was supposed to partake — we know that it was a period of time set aside in dedication to the service of God and neighbor, and that it encompassed three distinct disciplines. For as long as a person was adhering to this ancient practice, they couldn’t touch any dead thing (which means they weren’t eating meat), they couldn’t drink any wine or alcohol, and they couldn’t cut their hair. The latter was the most obvious sign, for the longer someone’s hair grew, the longer they had been adhering to these disciplines. While it could be as little as 30 days or as much as two or three years, when a person’s vow ended, they would raise money, go to the temple, and offer a very expensive and elaborate sacrifice to the Lord. The culmination of this ceremony, which was often attended by relatives, friends, and neighbors, was for them to shave off their head and burn their hair on the altar (yes, I know that sounds gross). Not only was this a symbol of a life dedicated to the Lord, but it was a means of ending their consecrated season with intentionality and making sure God was at the center of their next chapter.
My friend, Advent is a great time to separate yourself from the world and give your life once more to the service of your Savior. Since winter always beckons you to assume a slower pace, I encourage you to contemplate what Jesus is asking you to surrender for the sake of His Kingdom and vow afresh to enter your next season with purpose and wisdom. Still your mind, search your soul, and invite His Spirit to convict, comfort, and direct you. Then, allow His love to loosen your grip on the things you hold dear, lay them on the altar of sacrifice, and trust His goodness to totally transform your future.