How would the following explanation be accepted at your gift opening? “Oops, I forgot a gift for you.” No need to answer! Preparation obviously is key for a joyful Christmas.
At Schweitzer, the team is busy praying, rehearsing, creating, writing, studying, and organizing. At home you may be making lists, shopping, wrapping, cooking, decorating, mailing, and cleaning. Why all this frenetic seasonal getting ready? To show love and share joy with those dear to us.
Advanced planning precedes every state visit of a sovereign, prime minister, president or chancellor. Whether or not the individual deserves love and respect, the office itself demands meticulous readiness. We see preparation as key in Isaiah 40:3-4:
“Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.”
Having lived in the rugged emotional valley of captivity seventy years, God’s chosen people, Israel, needed to prepare and be prepared for their return home. Though God’s love was unconditional,
He had not prevented repercussions from their sin of idol worship. More than eight centuries later, God would send John to cry, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight paths for Him.”
The method of preparation John preached was repentance of sin, with baptism.
Why discuss the “downer” of sin in this season of love, peace, and joy? Because the baby Jesus who arrived that first Christmas died for our sins about 33 years later. Only as we repent of sin, which always makes desert areas in our hearts, will genuine peace and joy come. Love and preparation fit hand in glove, especially as we celebrate the Son of the King of the Universe, who came in human form that angel-filled night.
Prayer: Loving Father, prepare my heart this Advent season by revealing and removing any
pockets of wilderness. Lift the emotional valleys and lower the seemingly impassable mountains. Smooth out the rugged, rough areas that might prevent your embedding unconditional love
inside the soil of my heart.
1 John 4:7-8
Corinthians: Chapter 13
1 Thessalonians 3:11-12