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Advent: Day Five

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” – John 1:19-23

In Eugene Peterson’s commentary to The Message, he paints a beautiful picture inspired by the opening verse of John. Helping us sense the desperation and expectation of John the Baptist’s message, Peterson writes that the earth was like Oklahoma soil during the Dust Bowl, dead and lifeless, and that John’s call to prepare the way was like long-awaited thunder in the desert.

Jesus Christ is the drenching rain that brings life to a dead land.

Advent serves us much like John the Baptist served the people of Israel. Advent calls out for us to prepare. Not so that we may have our lights hung and gifts purchased for Christmas, but so that we may have our souls ready to celebrate the impact of Christ’s birth. This year, let Advent also be a reminder of our continued need for a savior and our soul’s longing for Christ’s return.

Meditation: Christmas is an admission of death before it’s a celebration of life. Meditate on the fact that we need a savior. Without the birth of Christ, we are like a field with no rain. May these Advent devotions and meditations remind us of our desperation for a savior.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, build in my heart a Christ-centered desperation this Advent. Help me feel the weight of hopelessness I have without Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, build in me a beautiful expectation this season that is contagious. Fill me with hope and wonder at the works of God, and let them be reflected through me for your glory. Amen.