Prayer: O Jesus, awaken me. Your Kingdom is at hand.
Imagination: (Picture John preaching at the Jordan.)
John the Baptist is the Advent preacher. He shows up every year at this time and stays for two Sundays. He has one task – “to prepare the way of the Lord.” Then, he will step aside for Mary and Joseph who usher in the great Christmas mystery.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
When John the Baptist made his appearance as a preacher in the desert, this was his theme, “Reform your lives. The reign of God is at hand.” Isaiah had spoken about John when he said, “A voice of one crying in the desert. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.”
John wore a garment of camel hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and Judea and all the country around the Jordan went out to him. They were baptized in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
He said, “I baptize you in water for the sake of reform but the one who will follow me is stronger than I. His shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- John was prepared by a life of prayer and fasting.
- When God’s word filled him, he knew exactly what to say.
- The people had to be made ready because the King was coming.
- They needed to repent, to be cleansed, to confess their sins and be baptized.
- His garments and his food show his total dedication to the Kingdom.
- The people easily believed when he said, “The reign of God is at hand.”
- Another preacher would come. Even stronger. He would baptize in the fire of the Holy Spirit.
- He would be so holy that even John would be unworthy.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Jesus, help me to prepare.
- Teach me to pray and fast, and to set aside the little comforts.
- You are the King. You are coming. You will not delay.
- O Jesus, I need to repent and to confess my sins. Let me do that now.
- Make me like John the Baptist, totally dedicated to the coming of your Kingdom.
- Jesus, you are the Strong One, able to send the Spirit’s fire upon me.
- Jesus, you are the Holy One who would make me holy.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will make this a prayerful Advent, especially in my home.
- I will bring faith to others, awakening them in his holy season.
Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
A voice crying in the desert, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”