First Advent Sunday

“Prepare the way for the Lord.  Make straight paths for Him.”  (Isaiah 40:3)

         Although the coming of the Messiah, the one who would rescue and redeem lives, was an event for which the Jewish nation had yearned for hundreds of years, somehow the birth of their long awaited savior was missed.  The scenario of a king born in a barn, raised by young, poor people with no royal connections did not fit.  Jesus, the completion of a promise, was overlooked by those whose job it was to recognize him.  They missed it…just as we often miss it.  Our idea of Christmas seems to be red and green with lots of gifts.  Our advent is measured in rapidly disappearing numbers of shopping days.

         Our preparation is decoration.
         Our “straight paths” lead us directly to shopping malls.

Our souls still long to be redeemed but our frantic pace does not allow us to hear the strains of God’s sweet newborn cry asking us to sit at the stable and experience His peace.  Advent is an opportunity to prepare a place in our hearts for the Christ Child. It is a time to ready ourselves emotionally, mentally and spiritually for His renewed presence in our lives so it doesn’t suddenly appear, when we are exhausted, but is a long anticipated event for which we are fully prepared.  We participate in Advent to symbolize our longing for the Messiah – our need for Him.  We light the first Advent candle to remind us of the gift of faith.  Faith that allows us to trust God to keep His promises; faith that He will redeem our lives; and faith that He will patiently teach us how to heed the call of John the Baptist, “Prepare the way for the Lord.  Make straight paths for Him!”

Sing “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.  There’s room in my heart for thee” as you light the first Advent candle.