The theme of preparation is strong this week. How can we prepare for the one who is coming? Every year, we need to practice. We have to practice how to wait. How do you wait? I suspect we prepare to help us wait, because we can never truly be ready. Luke 3:1-6 juxtaposed with Malachi 3:1-4 talk about preparing for a God who promises to change everything. The one who makes hills low and to fill every valley. The one who promises to make everything level and equal. All power structures will be turned upside-down. How does one prepare for the apocalypse? The book of Malachi says, that its hard “who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?”

I think its funny, that every year we try to prepare for the apocalypse, the end of the world as we know it, the change of all of the power structures. The refining process. Do we feel like we are refining ourselves during Advent? Which practices prepare you the most for the coming of Christ? I’m partial to singing, it feels emotionally connected and yet mysterious.

Another popular one is the advent wreath, if that’s not a practice of faith. Do you do the American thing of Advent Candles? Do you meditate on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love (or whatever order you do). Do you look for how they are inevitably a part of whichever scripture you are reading that week.


How do you prepare for the Lord? Somehow its an act that is so powerful and amazing that everyone wants in on it. People who aren’t sure what they believe or are frankly atheist often want to share in this season of Preparing. There is something special about a many people working on preparing for something together. And somehow, the valleys are exalted, all the mountains are made low. Somehow people from all over, in many walks of life, in a variety of socioeconomics, differing political leanings, different cultures and understandings, different understandings–somehow, every year, there is a huge number of us working on preparing for Christmas together. Something tugs at all of these people to be a part of the preparation.

I wonder if thats because anticipating things is so emotional. You are filled with excitement and nervousness. You can feel both of those emotions when you read John the Baptist’s words. Prepare–all flesh shall see the salvation of God. No one notes how people felt when John and Micah made their proclamations, there are no reactions in the Bible. Proclamations are made, and we are left to make our own interpretations.

How do we feel when we hear that its time to prepare? Nervous? Excited? Happy? Ponderous? Overwhelmed? What do the words of Advent provoke you to do in preparation? What are you looking forward to?

Let us know where your advent mediations/preparations/sermons are going.

Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY for over eight years and blogs at When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.

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6 thoughts on “RCL: Coming Christ & Preparations

  1. Thanks for this. I think I’ll start my sermon my talking about how some of the most important benefits of vacation come during the preparation/anticipation stage. John the Baptist was born to prepare/anticipate! Does this make him the happiest man in the world?

    Probably not. So I’ll have to come up with a different conclusion. But still, thanks for the inspiration to start 🙂


  2. We’re lighting the candle of peace on our Advent wreath this week and reading Malachi and Luke. I’m talking about messengers, heralds, prophets – people with messages trying to get our attention and draw us back to God. Sometimes we settle for shallow peace and God breaks into our shallow peace to show us the deeper peace of listening to and following Jesus. Not sure how much I’ll talk about things like riots and demonstrations, but they are one way that people get our attention and show us that all is not as right as we might have thought. I’ve got one of our college students ready to walk through at some point in the sermon with a bell shouting, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” Like a herald. Of course, we’re singing Hark, the Herald Angels Sing this week. Now to flesh this out into a sermon.


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