A wild man in the wilderness probably does not come to mind for most of us when we think of preparing for Christmas. In the midst of hanging twinkling lights and carefully wrapping gifts, a camel-hair-clad impassioned prophetic preacher eating locusts and honey in the desert does not quite fit. Yet this Advent story offers us John the Baptist, whom our scriptures label as one who is “prepar[ing] the way of the Lord.” This strange figure turns hearts and minds toward the coming of the kingdom of heaven we celebrate in the incarnational miracle of Jesus’ birth.

This Advent time of reflection and anticipation is a chance to ask ourselves, Are we ready to hear the voices proclaiming the reign of God, even when those voices might feel strange, shocking, or wild? Are we open to hearing from those outside our boundaries of what is comfortable? Can we hear the voices crying out in the religious or social wildernesses of our world? God’s kingdom brings peace, but it also brings disruption. It requires repentance, reorientation, and transformation. Preparing for the coming kingdom of God might mean getting outside ordinary patterns. Like camel hair on skin, the roughness of the kingdom can chafe against the soft and easy comfort of our lives. The strangeness of Christ’s commandments can be hard to swallow. We can feel as though we are leaving the bustling patterns of what we know for the stark emptiness of the wilderness. If we are not willing to reach toward something new, though, how can we receive the new life of the kingdom of God? If we are not willing to turn toward something risky, how will we hear God’s wide and wild welcome?

Ruler of Heaven, help me to hear the voices that proclaim your kingdom even when they come in ways that are unusual, uncomfortable, or untamed. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 11:2-11

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Leccionario Semanal
December 2–8, 2019
Resumen de la Escritura

The readings from the Hebrew scriptures look forward to the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah describes a root from the family of Jesse, that is the family of David, that will rule fairly and usher in an age of peace. The psalmist extols the virtues of a royal son who defends the poor and the oppressed and causes righteousness and peace to abound. Christians traditionally read these psalms as prophecies about Jesus Christ. Paul in Romans quotes several prophetic passages from the Hebrew scriptures, but he begins by emphasizing that those writings were given for our instruction. Christianity without the Hebrew scriptures lacks its foundations. Just as we prepare our hearts during Advent for the arrival of the Christ child, John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus in Matthew.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Isaiah 11:1-10. What appeals to you in Isaiah’s vision for The Peaceable Kingdom? What challenges you?
Read Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19. Consider the ways you lead in your church, community, or work. How do you nurture the life God has created in these environments? How can you better lead toward God’s righteousness, justice, and peace?
Read Romans 15:4-13. How can you welcome others as Christ has welcomed you?
Read Matthew 3:1-12. How can you prepare yourself to accept a wild or risky proclamation of God’s kingdom?

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