Prepare the Way
"He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
- Luke 1:16-17
What John the Baptist did for Israel, Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared. I mean spiritually unprepared. Its joy and impact will be so much greater if you are ready. First, meditate on the fact that we need a Savior. Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. Meaning, it will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior. May we never lose sight of the purpose for Jesus to be born - He actually came to die. Let these short Advent meditations help awaken in you a bittersweet sense of need for the Savior. Second, engage in honest self-examination. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23–24) Let every heart prepare him room… by cleaning house, so to speak. Third, for those with kids especially, build God-centered anticipation and expectancy and excitement into your home. If you are excited about Christ, they will be too. If you can only make Christmas exciting with material things, how will the kids get a thirst for God? Bend the efforts of your imagination to make the wonder of the King’s arrival visible for them. Fourth, be much in the Scriptures, and memorize these great passages! “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord!” (Jeremiah 23:29) So gather around that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights.
Isaiah 9:1-7. Notice the titles of the Messiah, write them down, consider how Jesus embodies these names. For instance, He is called the "Wonderful Counselor", a wise leader who makes just and right decisions. How has He shown this to you in your life?
Advent devotional content adapted from Good News of Great Joy