Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Prayer, In Advent

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 19, 2018

o come Emmanuel

Prayer, In Advent

Advent lasts for quite a while. Almost a whole month. Why does Advent last for such a long time? Why can’t Christmas hurry up and arrive, already?

This waiting-period reminds me of one of the leading cast of characters in Advent preparations, John the Baptist. What does John the Baptist have to do with Christmas, anyhow?

John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, does not fit into your typical Nativity scene. Usually, in most drawings or figures of the Nativity, there are a usual cast of characters. Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, kings, animals, and a manger. John the Baptist just does not fit in here. Where does he fit? With his rough clothing, different kind of diet, and hollering about repentance, he will not easily fit onto a Christmas card, either.

Yet, John the Baptist is featured in the Advent readings, for several weeks. “But the schedule for children’s pageants and choir Sundays often allows us to avoid him, and it is understandable that few of us complain.” [1]  However, John the Baptist is a featured part of the whole reason and purpose behind Advent. Advent is all about repentance. And waiting.

True, the crowded calendar in December often provides little room for repentance and devotion that is strongly suggested for Advent. What gives with this hurry-scurry, rush-rush attitude which now seems to be part and parcel of the holidays? It’s either that, or an extra dose of guilt unloaded on those who are also trying to have Advent devotions on top of following a full calendar of holiday dates.

Dear Lord, help me steer through all of this extraneous stuff and find the expectation and anticipation of Advent. Lead me to discover anew the great worth and value of John the Baptist, and his important message of repentance. Thank You for Your patience and understanding for the many people who are striving to get closer to you—including me. It’s in the name of Jesus, God-with-us, we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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[1] (This devotional by the Rev. John Thomas appeared in the Wednesday, Dec. 19th edition of the online Advent calendar featured by Epiphany UCC Church, Chicago, Illinois. Advent 2018)

Advent-y Prayers? Not So Much.

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent candles star image

Advent-y Prayers? Not So Much.

I haven’t been feeling prayerful, hopeful and full of anticipation. I just haven’t.

I apologize ahead of time for a blog post that is a bit of a downer. It is just I am not feeling any anticipation for the coming of Christ, for that celebration of the birth of the Baby in Bethlehem.

Yes, I am doing all of the outward, Advent-y things. I am seeing that the Advent candles are lit on the Advent wreath at my church, each week. The hymns and readings for each Advent worship service are set. The church is getting ready for Christmas, what with decorations, the poinsettia orders, and the orders for worship and bulletins. Yes. I taught a midweek bible study on Isaiah 40:1-5, a wonderful Advent passage talking about the voice crying out in the wilderness. Prophecy talking about the coming of John the Baptist. My final question to the bible study was, how are we preparing the way of the Lord, today? What does that look like for us?

Great question, God. I know I told the seniors at the bible study yesterday that we can proclaim Christ’s coming in a variety of ways. Not only by preaching (like John the Baptist), but by showing Christ’s love—in actual, physical, concrete ways, like giving food to our local food pantry, Maine Township Food Pantry. Or, one of the bible study participants suggested by giving diapers to Bundled Blessings, a diaper pantry ministry in Evanston that our church prays for on a regular basis. Yes! A thousand times, yes! I also suggested giving to the Salvation Army kettles.

So, God, I am trying to act in a loving way. I know even if I do not feel hopeful or filled with anticipation, I can still act as if. And sooner or later, my insides will catch up with my outsides. And besides, You still call me to act in a loving, hopeful manner. Even when I don’t feel like it.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your presence with me—with all of us. Renew the hopeful anticipation within each one of us. The hope given to us by that voice crying in the wilderness, telling each of us to prepare the way of the Lord—Your way, Lord. No matter how each of us is urged to communicate about You today, give each of us opportunities to do exactly that. Thank You for helping us to walk with You day by day, on that highway for our God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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