Strong soap required?

Preparations are important.  You don’t set off on a Journey without making sure you’ve got tickets, money, petrol and an idea of where you’re going.  If you are going to paint (something I try very hard not to do!) you have to prepare the surface first, smooth it down, remove loose or flaky old paint.  If you’re going to cook something, you need to have all the ingredients (it wouldn’t be the first time I’d had to leave a recipe half way through to go and get something from the shops!)

We are journeying towards Christmas, towards the coming of Jesus – but we are not there yet, we are in a time of waiting.  A time of longing – but not yet.  A time of preparation to receive him. How prepared are we?

Through Malachi God promises that he will “send a messenger to prepare the way for me”, and in Luke that messenger appears.

I love the phrase that the Good News Bible uses.  He (my messenger) will be like strong soap.  The task of the messenger in making ready is to cleanse and purify.  Shown by John the Baptist as preaching that people should turn away from their sins – and bringing the promise that if they do God will forgive them.

If Advent is a time of preparation then, it is a time perhaps for reflection.

I always say to Mr Pamsperambulation, that if you’re going to get something new, you have to get rid of something old to make space for it.  This Christmas, as we prepare to welcome Jesus anew into our lives, is there anything we need to get rid of?  Anything in our lives that would sit most incongruously alongside him?  Any part of us that needs cleansing and purifying?  Anything that we need to let God forgive?

If all that sounds like doom and gloom, it’s not meant to.  It is a positive thing to do. And through this preparation, the whole human race will see God’s salvation.  It heartens me that the word of the Lord came to John when he was in the desert – because sometimes it feels like that is where we are.  We can feel adrift, and in a place of dryness.  But that is where God speaks, where he comes, where the journey can start from.  The journey to hear God, to meet him, and to welcome him into our lives.

So we join in the longing:

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

John was challenged to get the road ready for the Lord.  We too receive that same challenge.  To get ready for God, because he longs to come.  To prepare the world to meet Jesus – because he is coming.

~ by pamjw on December 2, 2009.

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