Luke 3:3-6 – He [John the Baptist] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation." (NIV)
The season of Advent has always been a favourite time for my family and me. I think we've always liked this time of year because it helps us to stop long enough to think about why we celebrate Christmas. If we don't stop to think of the "why" of the season, then we probably will miss it altogether.
Have you ever hopped into your car to go somewhere and then unknowingly ended up going in the wrong direction? If you have a scattered schedule like mine, I'm sure you will be familiar with the idea of being in "automatic pilot". Being in "automatic pilot" is okay until you end up in the wrong part of town. Well, that's exactly what can happen with our Christmas celebration if we don't take the time during Advent to prepare for the birth of Jesus.
We have all heard the Christmas story enough times that it would be easy for us to just go into "automatic pilot". Advent, though, gives us the opportunity to focus on the Christmas event before we get going in the wrong direction and end up somewhere else instead of at the manger on Christmas morning.
As we look at the role of John the Baptist on the road to celebrating Christmas, let us not forget to "prepare the way for the Lord".
Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for the ways that you call us to "prepare the way for the Lord". Help us to focus on you during this Advent season. Speak to us in a new way and help us to listen to you as we prepare to come to visit the manger once again this year. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.