Preparing – A Advent 2 – December 9, 2012

Luke 3:1-6

http://www.michaelcoffey.org/_/rsrc/1228857319028/sermons-1/sermons-advent/sermons---advent---2-b/B-03G.BMP?&

What are some examples of things that need a lot of preparation. Talk to your neighbor, I’m looking for the thing that takes the longest to prepare – that is to make ready without actually doing the task.  What goes into the preparations, how long do they take, who is involved, etc.

As we hear the words of John today, “’Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” I can’t help thinking about the amount of time I put into preparing. We do a lot of preparing don’t we? And it begins right away in our day. For example, that alarm went off this morning, did anyone need to prepare to get out of bed? I sure did. Needed to psych myself out, get all those ducks up here lined up so I could prepare for the day.  We prepare meals, getting all the ingredients, all the utensils, getting it all ready to throw on the stove.  We prepare for trips, even trips to the store, making sure you have everything, your bags, your stuff, your family.

At work, the preparations are never ending aren’t they? And some of the time, the preparation is more time consuming than the actual task you are preparing for.

And so, in our service of contemplation, we have to wonder what’s the point, don’t we? We have to say, why do we spend so much time preparing? What’s it all for?

Okay, so not to punish you before lunch, but if we consider the following pictures, there are two questions to answer. The first being, what preparations are involved and what is the value of the result – or what benefits or consequences do you get from the following? Was that vague enough? I wanted to keep the surprise, but don’t know if those instructions were very clear…

So here’s the first set of pictures – what preparations go into it?  And what are the benefits?  Consequences?

article-new_ehow_images_a04_kg_pj_paint-plastic-plant-pots-800x800                              picGbue4I                               3322602-farmers-field

Okay, and the second set of pictures – what preparations go into it?  And what are the benefits?  Consequences?

tiny-plant-71                              img_0763                             Wheat_harvest

Which needed more preparation?  Which yielded a better result?

So is their value in preparing?  In that event that you mentioned at the beginning, the thing that took the longest to prepare, was the time that you spent preparing, worth it? The point I’m trying to make is that the resulting value usually correlates to the amount of time preparing – that is to say that the more time we spend preparing, the more valuable or the bigger the benefit we get out of it – depending on the event or task.

And so we’re in Advent. The season to prepare and make ready for the Saviour, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, and the Christ.  If we were to consider the actual value of preparing for supper, or preparing a field for seeding, and compare it to preparing for the Messiah, the Sunday School answer to the question of “which deserves more preparation? Supper or the Messiah? Seeding or the Messiah?” would of course be the Messiah.

Today, we are left with a question for each to contemplate. John stands in the wilderness proclaiming, “’Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” What does that mean for you, for us, for people of Zion, Beaver, Camrose? What preparations need to be made? Our thoughts? Our desires? Our will?  Our pursuits?

More to the point for today, is this just another Advent? Just another page on a calendar, or is God calling you to something, to change something, to do something, to be something?  The season of Advent is a time for reflection, for contemplation if you will. Rather than asking what preparations are we making for Christ, the question I’d like to leave you with is what is Christ preparing us for? ‘Tis the season of love and peace. A season that begs us to be good, to be better, to open our eyes to the needs and concerns of our neighbor. Missions and callings await us at every corner, and they last longer than the four weeks of Advent. Are we ready for what Christ is preparing us for?

Truth be told, we will never be prepared. We will never be ready for the Christ.  But He comes anyway, He is here already, whether we are prepared or not. And so if we can not be prepared, we rest and are comforted in the fact that He is prepared, His ways are straight.  And we remember that He is preparing for us, He is ready. As we walk through this week, may we contemplate on His purpose, His mission, and His will and not on what preparing we need to do for Him, but what He is preparing for us?

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