Christmas is just a few weeks away now. I am sure that you’re in the thick of preparations. We began our preparations a few weeks ago by putting up our Christmas lights before Thanksgiving. It was warm and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to put them up in short sleeves!
Preparing for Christmas was almost magical as a child. Whether it was seeing Dad put up the Christmas lights, mom making cookies, or our Advent Countdown getting hung on the stairs, there was a lot of work that went into our Christmas celebration. That doesn’t even include the shopping, hiding of gifts, and wrapping that takes place before December 25th.
While we work to prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas, we cannot miss the opportunity to prepare ourselves for Jesus. There is a difference between the celebration and the celebrated. What sort of preparations are we to make to encounter Jesus?
Luke gives us a clue in the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah “sings” or prophesies:
“And you, my child, will be called a Prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the LORD to prepare the way for Him; to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins because of the tender mercy of our God by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death; to guide our feet on the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79
John was to “prepare the way of the Lord.” He announced the coming of Christ; that God’s kingdom was here. The way people were to prepare for Christ’s coming? They were to repent and seek forgiveness for their sins. Then they would have knowledge of salvation that comes from God.
As we prepare our Christmas celebrations, let us not forget to prepare ourselves for the One we celebrate- that we turn away from our sin and by God’s grace turn towards Jesus, the light that shines in our dark world, illuminating the path of peace.
What are your favorite ways to prepare for Christmas? How are you preparing yourself to encounter Jesus this Christmas?