John the Baptist–our model in preparing for Jesus’ arrival

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Fourth Sunday of Advent 12/21/14

Even before he was born, John the Baptist knew that Jesus was something special. When both women were pregnant, Jesus’ mother Mary visited John’s mother Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb. (Luke 1:41a)

When you notice Jesus’ presence in your holiday preparations and celebrations, don’t be afraid to leap or sing or dance for joy. It truly is amazing that God came into our world as one of us and continues to make his presence known in our lives. Let’s celebrate!

John later paved the way for Jesus’ ministry, prompting people to repent, preparing them to receive Jesus’ teachings.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert; ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’ “

John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed. “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.’ “

Mark 1:2-8

What can we learn from John about preparing the way for Jesus? Reflect on the questions below while you listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuUl522_8jQ

-John lived simply. Because he didn’t worry about having a nice house, fancy food or stylish clothing, he was able to keep his whole life focused on Jesus. Is there something you can simplify in your holiday celebrations this year, that will allow you to focus more on Jesus? 

-John was humble. He didn’t see himself as better than others. He didn’t try to lift himself up. Instead he lifted Jesus up. When you bake cookies, host parties, send card and give gifts, what is your real motivation? Are you trying to impress other people; to make yourself look good? Or are you trying to point people to Jesus?

-John brought out the best in the people around him. When you gather with family and friends for Christmas, are you looking for the best in those people? Who are you most dreading spending time with this holiday? Write down five things you appreciate about that person. Share at least one of those things with that person.

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