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Sunday, December 24

Week Four - Preparation - Isaiah 42:1-9; Luke 3:1-16

[SCRIPTURE]

Read Isaiah 42:1-9 and Luke 3:1-16.

[REFLECTION]

The birth of a child brings the need for adjustment and change into the lives of those closest to them. Perhaps the best advice one could give expectant parents is to expect the unexpected - be prepared to be flexible, make changes and do things differently than you them before. There is much unexpected adjustment in the background of the Christmas Nativity: Joseph searching for a suitable bed for his newborn son in an overcrowded village, shepherds leaving their flocks to go search for a baby, Magi being redirected with their lavish gifts to a small town outside Jerusalem.

The many unexpected adjustments surrounding the birth of Jesus foreshadow future adjustments and changes that would be necessary for those who wished to receive the message and ministry of the Messiah. This child they were greeting into the world may have seemed tame now, but soon they would see a man anointed by the Spirit of God to confront the status quo and usher in a new Kingdom that does things quite differently (Isaiah 42:1-9).

A willingness to change and do things differently was central to the message of John the Baptist as he prepared the way for the Messiah. In response to John’s message of repentance, the crowd, tax collectors, and soldiers each asked the question, “What should we do?” In each case, John replied with a very specific and practical change that needed to take place for them to open themselves up to the ministry of the Messiah (Luke 3:10-14).

As Christmas approaches we can prepare to welcome Jesus into our midst once again by asking that same question: “What should we do?” The answer is still the same that John gave: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (v.8). That is, open yourself up to the ministry of the Messiah by making real, practical changes that align with the vision and priorities of theKingdom of God.

[STARTER PRAYER]

God thank you that Jesus’ birth signals the arrival of a new kind of kingdom, a place where your justice and righteousness are established on earth even as it is in heaven. Help me to be open to however your Spirit might wish to correct, adjust, or change unhealthy patterns in my life. I want to prepare for your presence in my life not only as a baby, but as Messiah and Lord.