Wednesday, November 28, 2018



Part of a Series: Preparing the Way

    Reading: Luke 3.2b-6

It has begun already.  If you turned on your radio on Black Friday or wandered in the malls, you heard it. You know what "it" is; I know you know.  I am talking about Christmas music.  Now it's not what I call Christmas music, Handel's "Messiah," or classic Christmas carols, or even newer classics like Michael W. Smith's "All is Well."

It's "Sleigh Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman" and "I'll Be Home for  Christmas" - the syrupy, sentimental, secular stuff that brings a smile but not good old-fashioned JOY to the world that could use a multi-dose of joy.

For Christians, at least those of us who are deeply in love with Jesus Christ - the One Who brought joy to the world; those things and the consumer madness and the mad round of parties - this season is special and holy.

And as much as the marketers and the Hallmark Channel would prefer to be otherwise, it's also not Christmas.  It is Advent.

Advent is the season of preparation FOR Christmas, but it is not Christmas.  Advent is based on a little bit of biblical history.  This from Luke 3.2b-6.

 ... the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’

John the Baptist was the son of a priest.  He was a man with a mission. His mission was preparation--preparing people for the coming of Jesus.  He was the man whose preaching and call to repentance were intended to get people's attention for the One who would change the world forever.

John fulfilled the prophecies of persons like Isaiah who announced the universe altering reality that God would end humankind's bondage to sin and separation from Him.  That he would do it by coming to the earth into our lives.

Advent's purpose is to focus our minds and souls first on our need for God, then on the promises of God, so that when the angels sing "Joy to the World" once again in a few weeks, we won't miss what it really means.  Advent begins preparing us to be and do what God desires to do in and through us.  And we prepare so that we can help others find the "Way, the Truth, and the Life."

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