by Terry Stead
“This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,“ The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Matthew 3:3
The wonderful time of Advent is upon us. A time when we eagerly anticipate and await the birth of Jesus. Unfortunately, it is also a time of busyness when we rush around madly trying to find just the right present for a family member or friend. We get impatient when we have to stand in queues to pay for our purchases and often become terse with shop assistants. Smiles don’t seem to be as prevalent and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to stop and talk. Each year the list for presents seems to grow as our children marry and grandchildren come along and so we worry about how much money we are spending and what will happen when we have to pay the credit card bill. And so the meaning behind “waiting” fades into the background.
We should be waiting with expectation; watching with eagerness and a focus on just what this birth will bring – a fulfilling of God’s promise in Jesus Christ. We should be reading God’s word and exploring what this tiny baby means to us, now and will mean to us in the future. We need to be preparing the way for Jesus in our hearts. His birth brings with it salvation and forgiveness of sins to all who confess their wrongdoings. He brings eternal life and a place in God’s Kingdom for each one of us when we finally leave this earth.
So — rejoice as you anticipate, prepare and await this glorious birth.
Loving and Gracious God, we come before you this day full of excitement and anticipation awaiting the birth of your dear Son. It is so hard to imagine that we mean so much that You would give us this most precious gift. Help us at this time to slow down and dwell on the meaning of this wonderful event so that we can truly give thanks and worship You with our whole hearts. Help us, also, to separate the secular meaning of Christmas (Xmas) from the real meaning and so make it CHRISTmas in our hearts as we wait. Amen
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