We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.
By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services
“[John the Baptist] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
'A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
"Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him...
And all people will see God’s salvation."' —Luke 3:3-6, NIV
It is time to prepare for Christmas. You don’t need to hear that; you already know it. It’s the beginning of December, and most households across the country are in a frenzy of holiday-themed activity. In fact, if you are like most people, your holiday activity is making this one of the most stressful times of the year.
You are buying presents, with shortages and economic concerns making that more difficult than most years. You are decorating your home and workspace with evergreen and angels, trees and stockings, ornaments and tinsel. You are sending cards, writing letters and preparing for annual updates with distant friends and families. You are baking cookies, preparing roasts and deciding whether to gather as a group large enough to justify such a feast.
But in the church year, we are reading about the ministry of John the Baptist — that we must prepare the way of the Lord and make ready for his coming. And it has nothing to do with food, presents or anything else that fills so much of our time. John tells us that to be ready for the coming of the Christ, we must repent, or in Greek, 'metanoia’, literally meaning “change our minds.”
In order to be ready for Christmas, we must change our minds. Which does not mean a mere shift in opinion, a resolution to behave a little better or focus on cheer. It means to recognize those things in our lives that just aren’t working. To change our approach to our lives. The Savior is coming, and he’s coming because we need to be saved. In the first century, that meant replacing a system of sacrifices that did not lead to wholeness or salvation. Today, it means... Well, you tell me.
Every year during Advent, we remember to prepare the way of the Lord by changing our minds, because the world is still not what it should be. We are not who we should be. And so, we prepare, we repent, we transform … ready for the Savior to come again.
Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.
The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
Find more in the Light for the Way series:
May you be filled with light
What does real wisdom look like?
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
In addition to Light for the Way,
you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care resources website