SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT: PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
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"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
'A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”'" (Lk. 3:1-6)
Behold the Lord will come . . . John [the Baptist] knows that God is preparing something very great, something for which he is to be the instrument; and he himself points in the direction that the Holy Spirit shows him. We know much more now about what it was that God had in mind for humanity. We know Christ and His Church, we have the sacraments. The doctrine of salvation has been perfectly marked out for us . . . We know that the world needs Christ to reign, we know that the happiness and salvation of all mankind depend on Him. We have Christ Himself; the same Christ whom John the Baptist knew and announced. We are witnesses and precursors. We have to bear witness and at the same time we have to show others the way. Our responsibility is great, because to be Christ's witnesses implies first and foremost that we should try to live our lives according to his doctrine, that we should struggle to make our actions remind others of Jesus and His most loveable personality.
~from In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations, Volume One: Advent and Christmastide
"O holy, patient, and loving God, in this season of grace-filled longing, we await the coming of your Son and our Savior. It is difficult for us to remember that this is a holy time. There are many distractions: commitments seem to pile up, and expectations are high. In the midst of our busy world, our busy lives, we need your help to remind us of what is important and necessary. While many of those things that we do not need will come to us in packages gleaming and bright, the one gift that will last comes from you alone, gracious God, as we grow in our awareness of your love. Bless us, our family and friends, and the food and the company that we share. Increase in us a growing urgency to celebrate the birth of your Son, in whose name we pray. Amen."
~ from The Essential Advent and Christmas Handbook
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This article has been updated and was originally published in December 2012.