4 December, Sunday — Preparing for the Coming

2nd Sunday of Advent

Isa 11:1-10
Rm 15:4-9
Mt 3:1-12

“Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Writing this at the cusp of Advent, the realization that there aren’t many days left till Christmas and to the end of the year is starting to sink in, giving rise to a slight feeling of panic. I am not prepared. I am not prepared to say goodbye to this year; there is so much left that I have yet to do. I am not prepared for the holiday season, to welcome family and friends to our home; nor am I prepared for Christmas, with my long list of ‘to-do’s and presents and things to buy! Most of all though, I am not prepared to receive Christ’s birth.

John the Baptist said to the people, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” People who heard him confessed their sins and were baptized by him. In this way, John was preparing the people for the coming of Christ, by having them turn back to God and away from their past lives of sin. Things are not so dissimilar some 2,000 years later. Repentance is still the way to prepare for the coming of the Lord. But as with anything that we do, there needs to be a purpose, a motivation behind our actions. What is the purpose for wanting to repent? It is because we love God and want to do good by Him. We want to follow His precepts out of love for Him, to try and live an upright life and sow good fruit. This kind of love requires a heart that is in tune with God but sadly, I don’t feel quite in sync with Him at present. I need to quieten the constant chatter in my head and set down the busyness of life to just focus on Him. My life needs to align with His purpose, I need to see things beyond myself and dedicate my life to Him. If repentance means turning back to God, this is the way I see it. Life cannot be about me, it has to be so much bigger than that. Why did Christ come? To save us all. Why do we need saving? Because God loves us so much.

When you see that beautiful little baby in the manger, think about the destiny that lies before this little babe. The weight of the world lies on his tiny little shoulders. And while he sleeps peacefully in his mother’s arms, pause and wonder for a moment, is he even aware that one day, he will have to die for us to save us. The enormity of such a mission, a destiny such as this, makes me feel like what God is asking of me is so trivial in comparison: prepare myself for the coming of Christ. This Advent, let us ask ourselves, what does it mean to you? Do we appreciate the significance of Christ’s birth? Are we prepared to let him into our lives? Are we ready to embrace the love and sacrifice that this baby represents? This is what Christmas is about, and Advent is the time when we ask ourselves these questions to prepare ourselves for his coming and straighten our paths for him. So let us prepare the way, for He is coming!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)

Prayer: Lord, as we await your coming, we pray for mindfulness for the season. We pray for a penitential heart that seeks you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for letting me come back to you and for taking me in despite my sinfulness. Let me seek the path back to you always and keep it straight.

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