Dec 10 - The Art of Preparation

TODAY'S PASSAGE

Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.[b]
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”
9 You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c]
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
— Isaiah 40:1-11

SUPPORTING PASSAGES

Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalms 85:1-2, 8-13, 2 Peter 3:8-15a, Mark 1:1-8


TODAY'S DEVOTION

This year I have taken on a new role and job in my life: a head basketball coach. Basketball has been something that has been instrumental in life ever since I was a little boy. After playing in college, I often toyed with the idea of coaching and finally I find myself in that position. My favorite thing about coaching is preparing for the opponents. I watch hours of film over and over to try to get my team prepared for the opponent. But more times than not, I find that my kids don’t execute anything we have prepared for and it is the most frustrating thing to me. I leave the gym every night after a game thinking to myself, “Didn’t we practice this play less than 24 hours ago? Why can’t we execute it?”

Preparation is a word often associated with Advent in the church. To me, prepare is an action verb-it requires some sort of action. This Advent season I am reflecting on this question, “Am I truly preparing the way for the Lord?”  Possibly God may be asking this same question that I ask myself after practice, “Why aren’t these people executing my commands? What more can I do?”

What we must remember is that a good coach doesn’t give up on his team when they don’t execute something the right way. The next day at practice, you change the way you prepare or you prepare a different way.

In our text for today, it evident that preparation is an important facet in our spiritual life. Preparation is a way to show that one is ready for the task at hand. Maybe, just maybe it is time to show Jesus that we are ready for his arrival in our everyday life.

“Prepare the way for the Lord[a];

make straight in the desert

   a highway for our God.[b]

4 Every valley shall be raised up,

   every mountain and hill made low;

the rough ground shall become level,

   the rugged places a plain.

5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

   and all people will see it together.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 

Put our words to action and prepare for the one who prepared life for us.


LET US PRAY

God, help us to realize to pause and rest this Advent season. Push us to put our faith into action and listen to new ways to prepare for your presence this Advent season. Amen.


TODAY'S AUTHOR

Jonathan Smith is a History Teacher and Basketball Coach at Halls High School in Knox. He loves sports, the outdoors, and the McGraw’s barn.  “During this season of Advent, I am most looking forward to rest!