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Preparing for a King

December 09, 2021
By Donald M. Larson, PhD

Last Sunday, my pastor preached on Advent and gave me a new way of looking at this season. John 3:4-6 states, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” In this passage John is announcing the coming of the King. This is what the season of Advent is all about.

Imagine if you lived in England 200 years ago and a royal messenger showed up at your door and informed you that the king would be visiting your house in one month. What would you do to prepare for this auspicious occasion? We would probably start cleaning the house to make sure everything is spotless. We would have to research the protocols: how are we to act; what do say; where will they sit? So much information that we need to ensure no offense is given. Next we would make plans for the day; and finally, we would make the necessary preparations.

Advent comes from the Latin word “Adventus,” which means “the coming”. That is what we are celebrating every Christmas: the coming of Christ our LORD. Advent is our time to begin cleaning our house by fasting and repenting. We confess our sins and turn away from them. Fasting helps us to focus on the coming event. We research the protocols by reading and studying the Holy Scriptures so that we know what is expected of us. We make plans for how we will celebrate Christmas, which the church has historically celebrated over twelve days and not just one. This is the celebration of the birth of our King! Finally, we prepare the house by building new habits in our lives and celebrating all twelve days of Christmas.

As the celebration of the birth of our King approaches, our excitement should grow, so that we can celebrate all the days of Christmas and sing:

Rejoice, the Lord is King:
Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing,
And triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart,
Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!