On the second Sunday of Advent, we are talking about John the Baptist. 

Advent is kinda weird, in that we prepare for Christmas (at least during early Advent) by telling stories that happened when Jesus was an adult.  We get ready to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus by talking about stuff that happened decades later. 

Why?  Well, for one, it’s because the Gospels tell us that John is the one who “prepared the way of the Lord.”  The mission of John the Baptist was to get the people – and the world – ready for Jesus.  John’s ministry – baptizing people; calling people to turn away from evil and towards goodness, away from injustice and towards justice, away from sin and towards God – John’s ministry helped prepare the way – set the table – for what Jesus did in his public ministry.  So, as we are preparing for the arrival of Jesus, it’s appropriate to tell the story of the person whose job it was to prepare the world for his arrival on the scene two thousand years ago. 

And, the second reason – maybe the bigger reason – is connected to the first one.  You see, John is a reminder every year that each of us needs to “prepare the way” for Jesus in our lives.  John is a reminder to clean out the clutter from our hearts, to straighten up the paths in our spirits, and to make room for Jesus to show up.  John is a reminder that each of us is called to “prepare the way of the Lord” in the world – making space for justice to reign in our communities, making room for love to show up in our relationships, opening doors that lead to thriving and hope in our world.  John calls us, each year, to prepare the way for the Lord. 

So, as we continue deeper into Advent, I hope that you will find a way to “prepare the way of the Lord” this week.  May you find time – even just a moment – to slow down, get rid of some of the things that clutter your mind and your heart, and be on the lookout for God.  May you find ways – even if it’s only something small – to help the world look a little bit more like the world Jesus has promised us. 

Today, we cry out with John, “Jesus is coming! Prepare the way of the Lord!” 

Thanks be to God. 

–Pastor Brian

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