December 4: Prepare (Advent 2014 Devotional)

Luke 1:14-20 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many people will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the Lord’s eyes. He must not drink wine and liquor. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth. He will bring many Israelites back to the Lord their God. He will go forth before the Lord, equipped with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and he will turn the disobedient to righteous patterns of thinking. He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? My wife and I are very old.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in God’s presence. I was sent to speak to you and to bring this good news to you. Know this: What I have spoken will come true at the proper time. But because you didn’t believe, you will remain silent, unable to speak until the day when these things happen.”

advent

In our journey to Jesus’ cradle this Advent season, we come now to the prophecy of the birth of John the Baptist. John was an interesting person; but he is very important and gives us an example of how we should prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ.

There are two things that catch my attention in these verses to help us this Advent season: 1) stand out and let God’s glory shine through you, and 2) trust that what God says is true and will come to pass.

Stand out and let the glory of God shine through: How can we all the glory of God to shine through us? Be filled with the Holy Spirit and work in his power. This may look different in how each person lives their life; but the main point is to show love and compassion to those around us. So as you’re out shopping and getting things ready for Christmas, let’s not become agitated when things don’t go our way. Let’s be the people who, instead, act different and not be like tired, stressed, impatient people. Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”

Trust that what God says is true and will come to pass: Very often we want things done in our way and in our time. God’s time is different than ours. 2 Peter 3:8 reminds us that “with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day.” When we hear from God, our tendency is to have it happen right here right now. Remember, we are in the season of preparing for the birth of Christ and trusting he will return. Faith comes when we can learn patience and simply trust that God is love and God is truth. John will not be born for another 9 months, in this story; and Jesus is still a year and a half away. We never know what will happen, but God has our life in full view.

Thank you Lord for filling us with the power of your Holy Spirit. Help us be patient when you speak and with other people. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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