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Prepare the Way, Advent 2: Preparing/Refining

We will be posting Advent and Christmas devotions Fridays November 30, December 7, 14 & 21, and Christmas Day. You may use these devotions as you want – for yourself, with a group or as a family; all at once, or broken up throughout the week. We suggest you start with the Scripture readings before you engage the other pieces. Enjoy!

Scripture

Malachi 3:1-4

Luke 3:1-6 

Reflection

When we think about getting ready for Christmas, we realize that most of our preparations are not for our own happiness, but for others. We clean our houses and the church, put up decorations, make cookies, sing songs, and get gifts so we can invite others into our celebrations. We are hosts of a grand party.

Being a Christian changes the way the party works, though. In our lives, so much is about what we can do and accomplish. We pin posts on Pinterest, hoping to make better decorations, fancier gifts and more elaborate treats so we can be the best hosts we can be. But when we host a party where Jesus is the honored guest, we soon realize that we are the guests and Jesus is the host.

We think we are preparing our homes, our hearts and our lives to invite Jesus in, but we realize that what we have been preparing for after all is to be an honored guest at God’s party. All along, God has been preparing us to see Jesus at home in our lives, and to enjoy the gifts offered at the party – grace, love, forgiveness, value. As we prepare, we find our hearts changed, refined.

Advent reminds us that we are invited to be hosts of this amazing party with Jesus. As co-hosts, we get to invite other people to be honored guests of Jesus and receive the same life-changing gifts we have received. What better Christmas present is there than that?

Discussion Questions

  1. What are favorite traditions that we love to do during Advent or Christmas? Making cookies, singing songs, decorating at church or at home, playing games, sitting around with friends or family, lighting candles or looking at Christmas lights? What else?
  2. What is it about those traditions that makes them special to us?
  3. How can we share those traditions with others?

Make It Your Own

Taking the tradition(s) you named, think about how you can add to it, or start a new tradition.

  • Is there something you can create together to add to your tradition? An additional decoration, song verse or other embellishment?
  • Can you invite others to join you – friends, younger members of your family or community, or people you don’t know very well?
  • Is there something you’ve thought of doing before that you have never tried, but want to this year – a new way of doing something, a new recipe, or a new addition to an old tradition?
  • Many times transitions in life mean that the ways we’ve celebrated in the past are no longer easy or possible. What made those traditions so special? What could you do to recapture what made those celebrations special, but in a whole new way?

Prayer

Creator of All That Is – as we prepare our houses and places of worship for family, friends and the birth of Jesus, let us prepare our hearts to welcome guests, as well. And may we also get ready to become guests of the Great Host, Jesus, who came as a baby but also a Savior. Let us learn how to receive as graciously as we give. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, amen.

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