Let us begin our preparations this week with one of my favorite Advent prayers:
Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do
seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things
look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people,
walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
~~Henri J. M. Nouwen
The lectionary this week offers us two choices from the Old Testament: Malachai or Baruch. Either way, chances are these authors are not that familiar to our congregations. Baruch presents a joyful picture of Israel gazing on the glory of God, her children restored, while Malachi foreshadows the message of John the Baptist we hear in the much more familiar gospel passage from Luke: prepare the way for the one who is coming to make right the world. And in a break from usual practice, our psalm this week also comes from Luke--the Song of Zechariah, the beautiful and prophetic words spoken when Zechariah's muteness is broken as he names his son "John."
How will you be preaching "preparation" on this Advent Sunday? Will you take on the familiar story of John the Baptist, or tackle the less well known prophets? Or perhaps you are observing Advent off-lectionary....wherever you're headed, join in the discussion, and grab some birthday cake while you're here!