Preparing for the Christ Child

In Daily Devotional by Chris Walker

Bible Verse: The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’” (Mark 1:1-3)

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:1-8; Isaiah 40:1-5

Today is the first Sunday of Advent 2023.

At churches all over the world, worshippers by the millions will gather together and light the first candle of Advent – the “Hope” candle. Each week, a different candle will be lit, with a different theme related to the Advent season.

The word “Advent” comes to us from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.”

As the annual calendar closes in on Christmas, for centuries, the Church has honoured a season of “Advent,” several weeks of reflection and spiritual preparation throughout December to remember the gift of God that was given to the world in Christ, which we celebrate on Christmas Day.

Mark’s Gospel begins with the words above, a proclamation of “good news” coming about the Messiah, and a call for God’s people to “prepare” for the Lord’s arrival. Israel had been waiting for millennia for this Messiah to come to them, holding on to hope that God would be faithful to His promises of a Deliverer, promises that stretch all the way back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15).

John the Baptist came to Israel first, preaching the message of preparation, quoted from the prophet Isaiah, raising the anticipation for the One who would follow him and bring salvation to God’s people.

John’s message was a message of hope: God is keeping His promises, and the Promised One will be on the scene very soon.

In response to this hope, God’s people were to acknowledge their sins, repent of their ungodly actions, and be baptized as a symbol of their reoriented lives, so that they might be spiritually prepared and ready for the Messiah when He arrived.

In Advent, we take the weeks leading up to Christmas as a time of preparation as well, remembering with hope the promise that God brought to the earth in Christ and the promise that He will come again.

Christmastime is a beautiful season where God seems especially close, and where our hope in His goodness and faithfulness can be rekindled. This week, the week of Hope, we will explore the Hope of Advent and the One in whom our hope is placed.

Prayer: Lord, prepare my soul to experience you this Christmas, and may my hope be renewed in Your presence. Amen.

Reflection: As we officially enter the Advent season, what Christmas songs, traditions, or activities help you feel close to the Lord? Go and spend some time in them today.


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About
Chris Walker
Chris Walker is the Content Editor at Impactus. He was a pastor in the local church for over 2 decades, and has served in a variety of ministry roles, including as a columnist at Patheos. He desires to see men filled with God's Word and His Spirit in order to fulfill His call for their lives. Chris is married to Sarah with two children, and lives in the Windsor-Essex region of Ontario.
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Chris Walker
Chris Walker is the Content Editor at Impactus. He was a pastor in the local church for over 2 decades, and has served in a variety of ministry roles, including as a columnist at Patheos. He desires to see men filled with God's Word and His Spirit in order to fulfill His call for their lives. Chris is married to Sarah with two children, and lives in the Windsor-Essex region of Ontario.