Reading I: Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Reading II: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
GOSPEL: John 1:6-8, 19-28

Preparing the Way

Advent is a time of year when we, as Christians, are called upon to prepare the way of the Lord. But what does that really mean? Is it only about getting ready for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus? Or is there something more to it than that? Perhaps preparing the way of the Lord is not just celebrating the past, but also being focused on the present and open to the future.

Why John the Baptist?

Advent is a time to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the birth of Christ. It was one of the greatest events that has ever occurred, so it certainly seems appropriate to devote a good deal of time getting ready for it. But if the focus is on the birth of Jesus, why does the gospel reading this weekend look at John the Baptist as he prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry – the “one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”

To understand that, we need to look at the season of Advent in the broadest sense possible. And in order to do that, we need to understand the idea of Jesus’ “coming” in the broadest sense possible. We need to understand it as past, present, and future.

It’s About Time

During Advent, we certainly do prepare for the birth of Jesus. But we also prepare our hearts for Jesus today. When we spend time in prayer, reflecting on the fact that God sent his only begotten son to redeem us, we cause our hearts to be open right now! The very act of preparing to celebrate the past actually allows us to let Christ into our hearts today!

And if we celebrate the past and let Christ into our hearts today, we are indeed preparing the way of the Lord. We are getting to know Christ – not just know about him – and that is what we must do to be ready. It’s all about time. If we know Jesus through the past and in the present, we will be ready to meet him in the future.

Life Applications:

What do you do differently during Advent to prepare for the coming of the Lord?
How do you think John felt about his task of preparing the way for Jesus?
How do you know Christ in your life today?

Original article by Brandon Jubar, 2005-2020.
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