This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " Matthew 3:1-3
This is the first of a four part series focusing on the season of Advent as we prepare our hearts and homes to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. This first week is about 'preparing the way' I'm intending to publish the other parts on the remaining 3 Sundays in Advent.
I must admit that I love Christmas, the lights, the movies and of course the food... I love the fact that Jesus' name is everywhere, talked about and sung about it's fantastic that often without even realising it people are glorifying Him.
Of course many who do not believe in Christ seek to remove Him from Christmas, to pervert a wonderful time of year...but what upsets me more is when we as Christians somehow through our own busyness and rush to prepare concerts and Christmas fetes etc manage to remove Christ and replace Him with all the trappings of the season. Sometimes our busyness and stress become the cornerstone of this time of year.
Advent is one of the busiest times of the year...there's presents to buy, decorations to put up food to cook, family to invite... The list is endless; some people start getting ready months in advance others like myself are a lot less organised and rush around at the last minute and usually forget most of what I need to do...what should be a time of celebration and togetherness can become a time of stress and arguments, additionally, for millions, Christmas comes and goes and leaves them no richer, no happier and still mired in sorrow, they see a world celebrating while they are left in the cold either literally through homelessness or figuratively through loneliness. I don't say that to make people feel guilty but to help us recognise that in the midst of our joy, there is still darkness and need in our world.
I love the picture above, and I would love to say that's how I prepare for Christmas...Through prayer and meditation; but often it can be an afterthought, but remember, the things that we do and how we do them can sow seeds in others...Will you sow seeds of joy and hope or will you be just another stressed out shopper on the high street fighting over the latest bargain or 'must have' item? Our mission is still to 'prepare the way for the Lord' we cannot save anyone...It is Christ who does that, but by our actions we can show people what it is like to be with Christ; we can plant the seed and give God room to grow and work in their lives.
So to finish, let me ask how will you prepare yourself and your home for Christ and for Christmas? Will you fight, argue and stress over decorations and food and all this inconsequential stuff? Or will you help 'prepare the way for the Lord' by praying for and ministering to those who need Christ even more at this time of year, will you be a stumbling block or a road sign? Finally remember that our hearts and souls are far more precious and important than our homes so however much time we spend decorating our homes, we should spend far more time preparing them.
Look out for part 2....of 'Preparation and Distraction' next Sunday