We light the second purple candle of Advent this week, also known as the Bethlehem Candle.
Consider all the things we do naturally in preparation for a birth. The efforts include inventory creation — we purchase the necessary items and start stacking the items away. We set up a room for welcoming the new baby with furniture, toys, and maybe music. We actively change priorities to make sure the baby is first and receives the best of us. We read and gather information about how these structural changes are best made for us and within our budget. Like Joseph and Mary, some of us have to move… kind of downsize and take what’s available in a crowded situation.
Today though, how do we prepare for the arrival of One who lives in our hearts? How do we remember the birth of the Christ child? How do we prepare to welcome into our personal mangers?
In our 21st century version of life, with its wide interpretations of a living faith, we can slow down and retrace the journey to Bethlehem. We can acquaint ourselves with divine providence, and go with Joseph and Mary “from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem… to be registered with Mary, his betrothed” (Luke 2:4 ESV).
In faith communities, we hear talk yearly and throughout the year to position ourselves for the will of God. We receive encouragement to prepare — train, study, learn — and do what is necessary to become who Holy Spirit said. We do many things that we call preparation. We make many plans. But do we ever make the journey… to get in the place foretold… for the birth of Christ to happen in our lives?
What’s keeping us from Bethlehem? It is the prophesied place, the place of destiny where if we will just make the journey, a Word will meet us. Today we receive the love and comfort of God. We enter the understanding of how great is His care and provision for us in our preparation. Consider the following readings for reflection and preparation during the second week of Advent.
- Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 — Who is the Christ child?
- Micah 5:2 — Significance of Bethlehem
- Luke 2:1-21 — Birth of Christ
- Luke 2:25-35 — Simeon’s Prophecy over the Christ child
- Luke 2:36-38 — Anna’s Gratitude for the Christ child
Consider the power of God’s love for us. Consider how we show love and inspire hope in others. Pray for our neighbors to know the power of preparation. Pray for our families to make the journey to Bethlehem. Pray for the spiritual sensitivity to know when we are in Bethlehem, and when we must move. All in all, pray the Lord’s church positions our hearts to be fully present this Advent.
He is coming. Advent is here. Let’s expect Him. Let’s obey the instruction that requires the move to Bethlehem. We shall see Him born again in our hearts and perspectives. Selah, and amen.