Advent Day 1

Advent Day 1 :  Prepare the Way

A voice cries out:
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  (Isaiah 40:3)

If you go to church this morning (depending on the church), you may hear some things you aren’t expecting to hear:  in particular, Advent music. What in the world is Advent music?   And where did my Christmas carols go?

Generally, Advent Scripture readings and music draw heavily from the prophets of the Bible and from Jesus’ own words about his return.  During the four Sundays of Advent, we’ll hear from people who preached about God’s plans for the world:  plans that included a baby and so much more.  We’ll hear from people who said, “Prepare the way!  God is getting ready to do tremendous things.”  Each year, pastors like me hope that by focusing on Advent, we will reawaken ourselves to the many ways God reaches out to us and dwells with us.

By the way, Christians who observe Advent aren’t necessarily anti-Christmas!  It’s just that we know we have some serious things to think about before Christmas comes.  After all, Christians claim that the little baby Jesus really is the Son of God, and that’s not a statement we can make lightly!  We ought to spend some time thinking about what it means for God to take up residence here on earth.

So today’s spiritual discipline is “getting ready” or “preparing the way.” Here’s an exercise for today:

Pretend that you live in a very small dorm room or apartment (perhaps you already do!)  You are notified that on Christmas morning, an important person will show up to stay at your home.  What do you need to do in order to get ready?  What needs to be cleaned or fixed?  How can you make your small space welcoming and inviting?  What food will you serve to your guest?  What would you like to talk about with him or her?  Apply these same questions to Christ.  How will you welcome him and serve him, though you may feel “small” in your spiritual life?  What will you talk about with Jesus?  What do you hope will happen during his stay?

Write these things in a journal and revisit your thoughts as Advent continues.

Today’s PC(USA) online Scripture readings:  http://gamc.pcusa.org/devotion/daily/2010/11/28/

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