When John the Baptist began announcing the imminent arrival of the Messiah, he challenged people to prepare. “Repent and be baptized!” John said. Those who complied probably thought they were ready. Then came Jesus and, instead of earthly relief from the power of Rome, he offered eternal release from the power of sin. A lot of people weren’t ready for that.
During Advent, we are invited to prepare ourselves once again for the coming of the Christ. It’s not as though we don’t know what’s going to happen: Mary, the birth, the manger, the angels, the shepherds–of course, we’ll be ready! Won’t we?
Perhaps. Baking cookies, wrapping presents and trimming the tree won’t quite do it. Preparing ourselves for the Christ is a spiritual venture. We need to set aside time for prayer, reflection, meditation and solitude. These are busy days. All the more reason to care for ourselves as we care for the coming of Christ, who may arrive in our midst as unexpectedly now as he did once in Bethlehem.
This message is adapted from a devotion written by Valora Starr for Women of the ELCA in 2004.