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Advent, it's a time of preparation. If you think back on the year, what’s the most important thing
that happened to you this year? Or, what was the most important thing you did this year, and how
did you prepare for it?
There's a big difference between knowing about someone versus actually knowing them. This Advent, we
want to get to know Jesus, not just know about him. That's what Advent is about—preparing to meet
him and to know him. Let's take a closer look at that . . .
“It changed my life!” Or, “This book, it was a game-changer for me!” We throw those phrases around a
lot. But when Jesus comes, things don't remain the same. Think about that. Let's take a closer look
at how Jesus is the ultimate game-changer.
We celebrate lots of different things in life, but at Christmas, we're preparing for Jesus—and
that's the same thing as preparing for God. God is actually coming to us. Now that is something to
celebrate. And the Gospel of John makes that very, very clear.
God made a surprising choice. He chose the simple. He could have thrown a big ticker tape parade on
Fifth Avenue with bands and broadcasts and trombones, but when he comes, God actually chooses the
simple—not the grandiose, not the complex. And Mary is the supreme symbol of that.
At Christmastime, we're preparing our hearts for Jesus, and it's important to think a little bit
about our habits, isn't it? How exactly do we prepare, because preparation is needed in lots of
aspects of our lives but especially in our habits—especially, maybe, in some of those habits that
we often tend to overlook in our spiritual journey. Let's take a closer look at that.
In week one of BEST ADVENT EVER, you and I have been focusing on how God comes close to us. And
let's be honest, people experience God in lots of different ways as they prepare for Christmas.
Today in the Gospel, we hear about John the Baptist. John the Baptist, he went out into the desert
to prepare. We're preparing for Christmas. John the Baptist, he left everything behind, he went out
into the desert to prepare for the mission that God was calling him to. And then when he came back,
he announced to the people, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
“The devil’s in the details.” You know, I've heard that phrase a million times. But I had an old
teacher who taught me
that the exact opposite may actually be the truth. Jesus often shows up in the little things.
Maybe, just maybe, it's
Jesus—not the devil—who's in the details.
We all have shortages in our lives, and we can't control a lot of them. But Jesus really and truly
is interested in
every aspect of your life. The Gospel of John makes that powerfully clear.
Abundance. In John 10, Jesus makes it clear that's why he came: to give you and me an abundant life.
It's possible to
have an abundance of stuff, but to still feel empty on the inside—and we miss the point. It's God's
grace that provides
the abundance for our souls.
A total loss. Have you ever suffered a total loss in your life, or felt like your life was a total
loss? I don't think
God even knows the meaning of that phrase.