Read Mark 1:1-8. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
The image that stood out to me from today's devotional message was the bucket of cold water. What a baptism! It might be more accurate to call it a pre-baptism admonition to "Repent!".
As uncomfortable as it would be to be doused with cold water, it might be just the reminder I need.
I'm a hard pass on the cold water dousing, especially in these temperatures! ☃️
I have been thinking about what it really means to "prepare ye the way of the Lord". I am doing a lot of preparing these days - shopping, wrapping, planning, cooking, etc. They keep me busy but these jobs are something concrete I can do to get ready for our family Christmas celebration. But what do I do to "prepare for the Lord?" How do I make straight the paths for his coming? Obviously, Mark is not talking about a literal road. So how do I make my heart ready for Jesus? What is in the pathways to my heart that I need to straighten out first?
I pray, I read, I discuss, I think, I try to give, to be loving. But I don't know, somehow my heart doesn't feel ready. It would be nice if I had a prescription. I know I am "ensnared" to some degree by these other preparations, but I don't think that's everything that's wrong. I would like to "will" this state of readiness, but I don't think it happens that way. But how?
Gina, your comment really has me thinking: "What is in the pathways to my heart that I need to straighten out first?" That is a PROFOUND application of the verse! I must give this some contemplation in light of my own heart. Sometimes, I tangle myself into knots, that's for certain (usually when I'm trying to get everything "just right")!
I always thought of this verse meaning we had to work for justice to get society ready for the pathway for Christ. I never thought about this verse applying to what's in myself that needs to be straightened out! Now that you've mentioned it, it seems so obvious. Of course, we need to start in our own hearts.
I am humbled and encouraged by your reflection! Thank you!
Did anyone else hear the Godspell song in their heads while reading the verse that includes “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”? I was hearing, “Pre--ee--ee--pare ye the way of the Lord,” so I watched it on YouTube. Great song! I got sidetracked by the 1970s presentation, though. The 1970s were a unique time in artistic expression. (What were we thinking?!!)
In the Bible verses, Mark paints a vivid portrait of John the Baptizer. He was a man living in the wilderness, a man whose spirit seemed wild with anticipation for the appearance of the Son of God. How exciting life would be if we opened our eyes each day to seeing the presence of Christ in everyone!
In the devotional, the author likens the verses from Mark to a Christmas parade. In her comparison, everyone is wild with anticipation for the “VIP in the final car.” I know what the author means, that it would be great if we were all jostling for a spot to see our Lord arrive so that we could celebrate Him. But, I find myself sidetracked again. Evidently, I’m uncomfortable with the image of Jesus in Santa’s vehicle, the usual end of a Christmas parade. I’m not sure what to do with the vision of John the Baptist stopping the parade with a call for us to repent. Around here, the paraders just throw candy.
I’ve been feeling guilty that my mind keeps getting sidetracked from this entry. During my struggle, my eyes landed on this line from the booklet, “Confess those things that ensnare you so that they lose their grip.” Let’s see, the 1970s, parades . . . . Those things are not bad, but I think I need to put my focus on what really matters, and I'm thinking of another Godspell song that does that:
Day by day
Oh, Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
It is so interesting how our culture -- meaning we people -- has created so many ways to distract us from what we really celebrate at Christmas. As we try to make the season more meaningful, sometimes we just end up making it more full.
@amy carroll I've seen several Facebook posts lately about the first Christmas being simple, and it's okay if ours is, too. You are so right, our culture really promotes busyness and consuming. I'm sure there's a happy medium in there somewhere, but it is hard to pinpoint.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!