The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
December 6, 2020 – Second Sunday of Advent - Mark 1:1-8
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
The message of John the Baptist is clear. “Prepare the way for the arrival of the Lord.” It’s a message that was first proclaimed two thousand years ago. And it’s a message repeated today. Why it is good for us to hear this again? Because preparing for God’s Spirit to enter our lives is always timely. We forget about God’s coming to us Each Day! We are distracted, so we ignore the signs sent our way. We assume we have already prepared. We may claim that we don’t need to do this again. But we’re wrong. And here’s why.
To aid our reflection on “preparing for the Lord,” I offer a narrative from the life of our family right now. Yes, we are preparing for Christmas, although this year it will be a somewhat muted celebration. It’s still the usual decorating customs. A few lights on trees in front of our home. A stable is placed in our living room. A Christmas tree will be cut from our son’s land. (He lives in the woods.) But like most of us, this may simply be a copy of last year’s Christmas – and like the ones for many years before. Of course, maybe our preparation can be different this time - in the sense of “better.”
This year, for instance, our family is engaged in another kind of preparation. And it’s much more intense than decorating for Christmas. We are preparing to sell our home. Downsizing, as they say. And this preparation helps me to understand more fully what John the Baptist means by “preparing the way” for the arrival of God’s Spirit.
So, what’s involved in preparing our home for sale? Here’s some of it. We make repairs that have been delayed for years. We decorate spaces that should have been attended to long ago. We clean places where dust had been accumulating for months, maybe years. In other words, we leave no stone unturned. No detail overlooked. We prepare!
Thus, my suggestion here is to seriously prepare our hearts and minds to be more desirous, more open and more receptive in welcoming God into our lives, the God who is always knocking at our door. As Christians, we are more aware of this coming as we celebrate the birth of Christ each year.
We are rightfully called to think hard about this because of the many distractions of the season. So, let’s not only “put Christ back into Christmas” but more importantly, find ways to bring Christ more fully into our lives, into our family connections, into our world so in need of the message of love that is at the center of this annual celebration.
©David M. Thomas, PhD