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Are you preparing the way for Jesus?

to make  ready for the Lord a people prepared  Luke 1:17d

  We are now 3 days into the Advent Season–the time of year on the church calendar during which we are to prepare for Christmas.  Normally the emphasis is on preparing ourselves so that we can properly appreciate and celebrate the great event which Christmas commemorates, the birth of Jesus.
            As important as  that is–there is another way to see this matter of preparation–a way which may be of even greater consequence to us this Christmas season.  It is that of preparing those around us to receive Jesus—“to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
            The other 3 gospels identify John as the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3-4d:

A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and rough places a plain.

The image presented is that of the practice of sending a for-runner (pioneer) ahead of a king to herald his approach and to remove the obstacles in his path.  For John the Baptist however, the hills and the valleys, the wilderness are not the obstacles but the blindness and hardness of the human heart.  He is not to prepare the terrain but people.
          A moment of reflection will make clear how important preparation is.
          The thinking of the average person is so conditioned that an awareness of God’s presence and activity is almost entirely foreign.  Most people are so occupied with the ordinary pursuit of making a living, raising a family, having fun, or meeting problems they are conditioned to relate only to what they can see, hear, feel, smell, and touch.  Our materialistic pattern of life makes it next to impossible to see (experience) God.
            Somehow those people, whose point of reference or perspective is almost totally time, space and matter, must be led or prepared to conceive the spiritual dimension of life.  And it likely will be done only by those who have become aware of God’s presence in their own lives–who have experienced his love, his power, his direction.  In other words, those who call themselves Christians must prepare others to receive Jesus.
            Think back.  No doubt you know the person or persons who prepared you, who was a point of contact, who made the gospel more believable either by word or deed for you.  F.B. Meyer wrote, “It is doubtful whether Jesus ever comes into the heart of mature manhood without the previous work of a John the Baptist.”
            Who has God placed in your pathway that needs to be prepared to receive Jesus?

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