Advent Week 3: “Preparing for the Christ” – Dr. Clair Budd

December 12, 2016

“…Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight…” – Matthew 3:1-12 (v. 3, NRSV)

So much preparation goes into our contemporary celebrations of Christmas.  Last week my wife began making some of the sweet treats that we enjoy over the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Meanwhile I invested some time online, making purchases for gifts.  This next week we’ll pull out the boxes of decorations and prepare the house for the season.  Yet the greatest preparation is not decorations, gifts, or food, but our hearts.

John the Baptist understood that the people of his day were not ready for the Christ to appear.  Old Testament prophets had faithfully called God’s people back to the covenant – but for 400 years there had been no new word from God.  So John stands on the precipice of history and calls his audience to “prepare” consisting of three facets: 

1)  “Repent” (v. 2) – acknowledge you are heading the wrong direction and turn around.
2)  “Make straight paths” (v. 5) – clear away the clutter that inhibits God’s work in your life.
3)  “Bear fruit worthy of repentance” (v. 8) – invest yourself in the kind of living that honors God.

Advent is the beginning of the Christian year, and thus a wonderful time to take inventory of where we are in relation to God, allowing Jesus to come into our lives all over again, in a new way, or perhaps in a new dimension of life.  How can you best prepare for Him?

“Lord Jesus, you alone satisfy our deepest longings; you are the desire of every nation.  In the midst of all of our busy-ness that’s part of our American Christmas culture, would you help us prepare our hearts so that your life, your Spirit, your love and grace might rule and reign in us in ever-increasing ways. Amen.”

CORNERSTONE:   Holiness

- Dr. Clair Budd, Professor of Christian Studies & Philosophy

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