The second week of Advent echoes with the refrain: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Like God’s people centuries ago, we desperately need a Savior. This week we prepare to receive Christ at Christmastime—into our hearts and into our world. As we cry out for forgiveness, we are reminded that God promises, and indeed has delivered, a new covenant in which our sins are forgiven and forgotten.
This week, read and reflect on this passage from the gospel of Luke 3:1-6
Baptism symbolizes new birth. As John the Baptist prepares the way for the One who is to come, he baptizes in water and proclaims that the coming Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The new birth offered us in Christ also requires a death, a departure from the old life as we prepare to receive the new life Christ offers. Advent is as much about a departure as it is about an arrival. As the Messiah arrives, the old, the dead and dying things, the broken and hopeless things all depart. The arrival of Christ means the departure of death. It is no more. It has indeed lost its sting and holds power over us no longer.
Sometime on Sunday, prayerfully light a candle to mark the beginning of your week. We light a candle as an act of repentance, recognizing our sin and our need for a Savior, but also remembering that in Christ we are forgiven and free.
This week, you may wish to invite a friend or two over for a meal. Think about and pray for your friends who will share the meal with you while you prepare the meal, set the table, and get ready for their arrival. As you prepare for dinner, remember what it means to prepare the way of the Lord and to anticipate his arrival.
As you dwell on this week's theme, consider listening to some music appropriate to the Advent season. Some of my favorite Advent albums are from Future of Forestry, The Brilliance, Page CXVI, Elizabeth Hunnicutt, Sojourn, Young Oceans, and Kings Kaleidoscope. This week, I'll be listening to the songs "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" in particular as I think about what it means to announce Christ's coming in our world now.
An Advent Prayer:
God of timeless grace, you fill us with joyful expectation. Make us ready for the message that prepares the way, that with uprightness of heart and holy joy we may eagerly await the Kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.