Are You Preparing This Christmas (And No, This Isn't About Presents)
Advent, the celebration of the "coming" of Jesus to Earth, has begun. Are you Preparing?
Early on in Luke's account of the birth of Jesus, we read of the birth of John the Baptist. John the Baptist is the prophetic figure born to the elderly priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. He is charged by God to make the way for the birth and mission of Jesus. In particular, the angel Gabriel explains to Zechariah in a vision prior to John's birth that John:
"...will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:16–17)
A people prepared for the Lord
This phrase caught my attention as I think over Advent this year. As we think about our getting ready as a church for this coming Christmas, I want to use Luke's phrase here and ask: are we "a people prepared for the Lord?"
This is the purpose of Advent. It is a practice of the church now centuries old that begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 (Read a little more HERE). And it is all about being prepared for celebrating the birth of Jesus marked on our Western calendars on Christmas day, December 25.
This Christmas, I want to help you be prepared for the Lord. Prepared for a fresh worship of Him. Prepared to behold Him in new ways this Christmas season. Prepared to hear from Him. Prepared to learn more about the character of Your Lord and Saviour, and His purposes for your life as a result.
To that end, I've got 4 ways to kick us off. Here they are:
Firstly, a Carol - This is a fun one, and in our upcoming December preaching series, this is the first Carol, "O Come All Ye Faithful" we are going to unpack in our preaching this coming Sunday.
Secondly, a bible reading program - From The Bible Society, this is a 14 day devotional that focuses on 14 different Names of Jesus given throughout the scriptures that can form a powerful preparation of your heart to worship Jesus this Christmas.
Thirdly, a reader - from NT Wright, a free PDF with a more in-depth exploration of the significance of Advent and the power of what we look forward to and celebrate as we celebrate Jesus this Christmas.
Fourthly, this blog - we'll be reflecting on the birth of Jesus in this blog over the coming few weeks.
This Christmas, let's prepare ourselves to be a people prepared for the Lord coming to our hearts, imaginations, and lives afresh as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and our King.
Preparing with you!
Written by Ps. Rob