Isaiah 40:1-11 (click for full reading)
“A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
Week 2 of Advent and this week we hear Isaiah and Mark.
Both of these readings are chosen on this Advent Sunday because they remind us of what we are supposed to be doing in Advent. No, it’s not wait. Though people often assume that Advent is all about waiting.
No, the thing we hear all over the place in our readings today is about preparing.
“Prepare the way of the Lord”
Yes, Advent is about waiting, but it’s not an empty wait.
Advent is a reminder to take time to prepare. Both of the texts today called us to do just that: prepare the way of the Lord.
What does that mean exactly? What does it look like to prepare?
Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans asked this question on her blog last week:
“How will I be different on Christmas Day?”
It’s a question that has stuck with me all week, because I’m not sure that the things I spend time doing really change my heart all that much. How will the way I prepare for Christ in Advent, cause me to be different, to be changed, on Christmas day?
Christmas Day should be more than a day when we open presents and eat good food, but a day when we experience the world in a new way because Christ has again broken into the darkness. That’s why we light candles in Advent, one by one, week by week.
If you’ve ever attended a candlelight worship on Christmas eve, you know the awe and pure joy that flows when those four candles spread and fill the room.
So while doing your “normal” preparations this Advent, as you put up and decorate your tree, as you bake cookies, as you buy and wrap presents, remember to take time to “prepare him room.” Seek ways to help bring light into the darkness, right alongside Christ.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. What are the ways you prepare your home for Christmas?
2. What are some pre-Christmas traditions that you value and love?
3. What is it about those things that put you in the “Christmas Spirit?”
4. How will your Advent preparations allow you to be different on Christmas Day?
As you go through these next weeks, think about how your preparation might change you on Christmas day, and if you don’t think it will, then maybe check out the links below to add a little more light into your preparations.