Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Preparation is an important word in the Advent season.  It is part of our Christmas lexicon.  It seems almost like a command.  We are to prepare our minds, hearts and lives for the coming of Jesus.  The Lord’s birth isn’t a casual affair.  We dare not treat it as a rerun or just another day.  God made a big deal out of preparation for the coming of His Son.  God raised up John the Baptist as the forerunner to Jesus...as the one who would prepare the way for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  Many years and even centuries before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah spoke of the importance of preparation.  Isaiah 40:3-4 says, "A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain."
            Preparation is important because Jesus came to change and transform us.  He came to change hearts, lives, pathways and destinies.  God’s plan for salvation and Christmas was in place long before anyone of us was born.  We have less than four weeks till we will again celebrate the Lord’s coming and birth.  So now is the time to prepare for this special day.  You may want to begin by reading the Christmas story in Luke 2 each day.  With both simplicity and eloquence, Luke captured the birth of Jesus in a way that speaks to anyone...young or old, those in the corridors of power or the common person.  If you read Luke’s account more than once, you will likely discover that certain words, moments and images speak to you in ways that are new and fresh.  Scripture is never tired or worn out.  God’s Word always approaches us in a new way.  You could send a gift a day to someone.  You would not have to use money.  Send a card, note, text or email to someone with an encouraging Christmas message.  You can take advantage of the many different Christmas events and occasions we will have at our church over the next few weeks.  Be part of these special times of worship, outreach and service.  Invite others to join you.  You could start by helping with our Live Nativity Scene this coming Saturday.  You could even visit our sanctuary during the week for a time of silence and prayer as you await Christmas.
            The idea behind preparation is that we not treat Christmas like any other day of the year.  Advent is a slow, but steady, progression to Christmas Day whereby we sing “joy to the world, the Lord has come.”  You could use an Advent wreathe in your home like we have in our sanctuary.  As we light the candles, we are counting down to that joyous moment where we can remember and revel in the birth of our Lord and the good tidings of great joy.  Light your own candles and count down the moments till the glorious occasion of Jesus’ birth has arrived. 
If you reflect carefully on the earlier words of Isaiah 40, you will see that we have some spiritual work that we can do as we await the Lord’s coming.  We can straighten out any crookedness we see in our lives.  We can smooth out the rough places and rough edges to our demeanor, attitudes and words.  We can tear down any high places, mountains or idols that have blocked our spiritual vision and kept us from knowing and serving the Lord as we should.  God’s greatest gift is the gift of His Son.  And this amazing gift deserves our best preparations. 
            Choose one way today to prepare for the Lord’s coming.  And tomorrow make another choice.  Time will quickly run out between now and December 25th.  We want to be sure that we are ready to honor the birth of the Lord in a way that is fitting, proper and right.  Be creative and thoughtful but do not just let Christmas arrive without attention and dedication from you.  You will experience the Lord and the joy of His birth through the depth of your preparation.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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