Today, we are continuing our series on Advent. You can read part one here.
Prepare the Way
When Christ came to earth as a baby, in Bethlehem, his arrival had been prophesied and promised for centuries. Leading up to Christ's birth, a new revival of hope had been proclaimed among the people of Israel. They were once again filled with expectation of the coming Messiah.
One of the reasons for this resurgence was the message brought forth by John the Baptist.
Just as Isaiah had proclaimed hundreds of years earlier, John spoke of the coming King. He was preparing the way, just as Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 40:1-11). Although John was able to declare his message, and be received as a prophet of God, it is important that we understand John's sole intention:
Pointing people to Christ.
John came on the scene in a flurry. Calling people to repentance and extending their hand to their fellow neighbor. It became plausible for some people to believe that John was the actual Messiah.
John did not entertain those ideas, however.
John preached of one whose shoes he was not worthy of carrying (Matthew 3:11). He only spoke of Jesus Christ as the true Messiah.
Today, we can often be filled with the temptation to receive credit for the things God has done in our lives. If we are in ministry at all, it can become tempting to allow people to build us up, "in the name of Christ," but really just enjoy people worshiping us. Imagine how tempting it might have been for John. The people were willing and ready to anoint him as king.
What was his response?
More of Jesus.
As we continue to observe this Advent season, we must decrease, so that Christ may increase in our lives. Only then will we be able to adequately prepare the way for the King's arrival. Christ will return to bring his Kingdom to fulfillment. He will abolish evil and restore peace for all time. We have the wonderful opportunity to do just as John did. To proclaim his coming. To prepare the way for Christ's return.
While we prepare our hearts to celebrate Christ's birth, on Christmas Day; may we also give our hearts to God, so that we may prepare those around us for Christ's return.
Here are some resources for anyone looking for more information about Advent.
This Advent Guide by the Village Church includes family devotions and activities.
Here is a daily Advent reading guide from Word of Life Church.
Trinity Grace Church, in New York, has developed a wonderful daily devotional.
Here is a playlist I created in Spotify to help recognize the Advent season.
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