|Theme:||John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. 2nd Sunday of Advent Yr. A|
|Object:||Some Christmas objects -- decorations, gifts, etc.|
|Scripture:||In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." Matthew 3:1 (NIV)|
"Are you ready for Christmas?" You will hear that question many times over the next several weeks. What do people mean when they ask that question? Well, they usually mean is your Christmas tree up and your house decorated? Or have you finished your Christmas shopping? Perhaps they mean have you written your annual Christmas letter or sent out your Christmas cards? There are many things that come to our mind when someone asks, "Are you ready for Christmas."
There is another question that we should be asking ourselves today. It is more important than, "Are you ready for Christmas?" The more important question is, "Are you ready for the Christ of Christmas?"
Many years ago, a man called John the Baptist preached about what it means to be ready for Jesus. John the Baptist was a different kind of man. He wore clothes made of camel's hair with a belt around the waist. His diet was rather unusual as well. He ate a diet of locusts and wild honey. Do you know what a locust is? Many of us today might call it a grasshopper. I'm not sure I would want to eat grasshoppers and honey. How about you? John the Baptist traveled throughout the wilderness of Judea. His message to the people was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Do you think people would listen to someone dressed in camel skins and eating locusts and wild honey? Well, they did! People came to John the Baptist from all over the entire area. They confessed their sins to God and were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
After John baptized the people, he told them, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But there is one coming who is more powerful than I. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Who do you think he was talking about? Right! He was talking about Jesus. John the Baptist wanted the people to repent of their sins so that they would be ready for Jesus.
During this special season of the year, as we get ready for Christmas, you and I need to make sure that we are ready for the coming of the Christ of Christmas. We need to look into our hearts and ask God to make us clean so that we can walk with Jesus each day of our life. Let's ask him to do that now.
Dear Father, we want to be ready for the Christ of Christmas. Prepare our hearts for his coming. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
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