Prepare the Way for the LORD!

What does Advent mean to you? 

Watch! Wait! Prepare the Way for the LORD!

Candles and decorations brought out of storage, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, baking, sending out Christmas cards, caroling, all that and more, stuffed into 25 or so days before Christmas Eve.  Maybe you mark the days with an Advent calendar or some additional tradition.  All of this can easily become a bit much.  Year after year, as more and more is added to the list, it becomes all the more necessary that God yearly reaches out to us through the call of the famous forerunner, “Prepare the Way for the LORD!”

It is a call that is thick with both Law and Gospel.  Repent!  Turn from these distractions, turn from our natural apathy toward God, and watch, and prepare!  Advent is not just a time of busy preparation but like Lent it is a time for quiet repentance and renewal as we wait and prepare for a wonderous work of God.

The Lord calls us to keep watch! Prepare!  And while we recognize that this is something that we so often fail to do {both inside and outside the busyness of the pre-Christmas season}, this is also a call that is loaded with the Gospel.  A voice cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'”  The king of heaven comes to us.  He comes for us.  He comes righteous and having salvation.  He came once in humility to suffer and die and rise again.  He will come again in glory.  Listen!  Don’t miss this wonderful thing that God does for you!  A Savior will come again on the clouds to bring you home!  He comes to you through Word and Sacrament!  He comes as a child, born for you!

What do we hear when we hear the directive… Meditate… Pray… Prepare the Way for the LORD?  Our flesh may react in a way that treats this as another list to check off during a busy season.  And so the guilt piles up as time is short.  Have I read enough of my Bible!  Have I spent adequate time in prayer? Have I truly considered how Jesus is the reason for the Season?  And so perhaps it is through some law based motivation that we find ourselves cramming our way through some Advent devotional, or trudging through a reading of the Christmas story, or racing through some prayers at the end of a busy day because we know we should.

But better than some law and guilt driven work of man, let us find a few moments this busy season to be still, be silent, as our Savior comes to us through his Word.  He comes to us to prepare us.  He comes to us to give us rest, to give us peace.   He comes with forgiveness, he comes with salvation, he comes to dwell among us as a child, he comes to live among us with his enduring word and Sacrament, he comes to comfort us and strengthen us with his gift and promise of heaven.

In the light of the Advent season, in light the goodness of God, we know that this is directive that is given for our good especially at this busy time.  This is a directive that is loaded with gospel…. Meditate… Pray… Prepare the Way for the Lord.  The Lord comes to you, to renew and restore.  To forgive and strengthen.  Meditate… Pray… Prepare the Way for the Lord. And know that the Lord is with you even as you go through trials and temptations before you enter the kingdom of God.

Let us pray:

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirt. 

I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have graciously kept me this day.  Forgive me all my sins, and graciously keep me this night.  Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all things.  Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me.  

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