Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1 - Prepare The Way

"No doubt about it; children are a gift from the Lord..." Psalm 127.3
My children were all home for Thanksgiving; the three who are away at college returned, two with boyfriends in tow. Our house was full.

My heart was full as well. I had eagerly anticipated their arrival, the feast on Thanksgiving day, the familiar banter between siblings.

It was wonderful, as expected. And last night, we began preparing anew. The boys had ventured out to cut down an evergreen; it found a place of honor in the living room. Holding to tradition, we put on the first Harry Connick Christmas album as we hauled down boxes from the frigid attic, examining and exclaiming joy as we open boxes of ornaments and lights.

We decorated the tree; we set the stage. And now we wait.

I'll be blogging Advent this year, connecting personal observations with the "official" Advent Devotional readings PCC is offering. We're using John Piper's Good News of Great Joy. You can read it here on my blog each day, print out a copy of your own here or download it to your Kindle or eReader. 

Advent Devotional For December 1 - Prepare The Way

“He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1.16-17 

What John the Baptist did for Israel, Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared. I mean spiritually unprepared. Its joy and impact will be so much greater if you are ready! 

That you might be prepared… 

First, meditate on the fact that we need a Savior. Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior. Let these short Advent meditations help awaken in you a bittersweet sense of need for the Savior. 

Second, engage in sober self-examination. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139.23-24) Let every heart prepare him room…by cleaning house. 

Third, build God-centered anticipation and expectancy and excitement into your home - especially for the children. If you are excited about Christ, they will be too. If you can only make Christmas exciting with material things, how will the children get a thirst for God? Bend the efforts of your imagination to make the wonder of the King’s arrival visible for the children. 

Fourth, be much in the Scriptures, and memorize the great passages! “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord!” Jeremiah 23.29 

Gather ‘round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling 

John Piper. Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent 

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