Day 8 of 40 Days to Celebrate the King
This week for our scripture: everyday read Psalm 95
Monday Matthew 3
Tuesday Colossians 1:9-23
Wednesday John 18:33-37 (yes, again 😊)
Thursday Isaiah 43:1-21
Friday Hebrews 10:11-25
Saturday Zephaniah 3:14-20
This is the last week of the Church year. Sunday, November 28th is the first Sunday of Advent. We begin year C of the liturgical calendar. (More on that later.) Here is our scripture for next Sunday. Read Psalm 95, Jeremiah 33:14-16, I Thessalonians 3:9-4:2, Psalm 25:1-10, and Luke 21:25-36
Matthew 3:1-3 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, the season beginning four Sundays before Christmas that looks forward to the coming of the Christ Child. Some faith traditions observe a significant period of prayer and fasting during this time. Some light a candle each Sunday and have a child read a poem. And others just see it as the time to officially begin singing Christmas Carols on Sunday morning. Whatever your church does, Advent is the time we begin preparing our hearts and our hearths for Baby Jesus.
Preparing for Jesus is not a new concept. In the Scripture reading for today, we read that John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, saw that as his mission in life. John was born about six months before Jesus so it’s only right that he would be the preparer. But the words that Matthew uses to describe John come from the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah said them about 730 years before Jesus was born. And Isaiah was called to ministry “in the year that King Uzziah died.” (Isaiah 6:1)
Do you get the point here? There has been a whole lot of preparing going on for a very long time to get us to the place in history that Jesus was ready to be born. We needed John to be born first. We need Zechariah and Elizabeth to have a miracle before that. We need Isaiah to give John his marching orders seven centuries before he was even born. We needed Isaiah to go through the traumatic experience of losing his uncle king before he could say the words. God was preparing the preparers a long time before they began preparing.
It just makes me think that there are some important and necessary first steps I need to take to get my heart ready for the King. Oh, I imagine I could wait until the last second and frantically try to do some last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve, but with all this preparing, I’m thinking I should go ahead and start now. Like, maybe this is a good time to ask for forgiveness from that person I slighted this year. Or, maybe this would be the time to make amends to my wife for allowing some distance to grow between is over the last few months. Maybe I need to catch up on some tithe, or dust off my Bible, or do a little extra praying. Preparation for something of this magnitude deserves an early start.
So here are some questions that might help:
What have I allowed to sneak into my life since last Christmas that really needs to be removed?
What things get in the way when I try to welcome the King into my heart?
What things have I stopped doing this year that last year were so special to me?
Here’s a prayer to pray this week that might be helpful:
“Almighty God who came to us long ago in the form of a Baby, be born in us anew today by the power of Your Holy Spirit. We offer our lives as home to You and ask for grace and strength to live as Your faithful, joyful, children always. Amen”
There’s a video today…I hope. 😊