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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

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St. Nicholas

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 96
Matthew 18:12-14

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"A voice says, 'Cry out!' I answer, 'What shall I cry out?' " —Isaiah 40:6

When we think of Christmas preparations, we think of trees, cards, presents, cookies, and candles. However, the Bible speaks of a different kind of preparation. To prepare the way of the Lord, we must turn a desert wasteland into "a highway for our God" (Is 40:3). This means bulldozers, earthmovers, dynamite, a fleet of dump trucks, and the Army Corps of Engineers. It would take all that to lay low mountains and hills and use them as fill dirt for valleys (Is 40:4).

It's a big operation to take crooked, rough, winding ways and make them straight and smooth. Yet this is the picture the Bible presents about preparing for Christ's coming. This Advent time of preparation requires a heavy-duty job of deep repentance, conversion, soul-searching, and healing. It can be heart-wrenching, painful, convicting, and tearful. However, the end product is a clear and straight road for the Christmas Jesus into our hearts.

What will it be — superficialities, worldly desires, and mere customs, or a real Advent preparing for a real relationship with Jesus?

Prayer:  Jesus, bring in the bulldozer. All I've got to lose is my sin and selfishness.

Promise:  "It is no part of your heavenly Father's plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief." —Mt 18:14

Praise:  St. Nicholas' generosity was a gift from God not only for his generation, but to many generations of Christians after him.

Reference:  (To prepare a highway for our God, read the Bible daily. For encouragement, order any or all of these audio or video tapes: Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ, AV 82-1, V-82, How to Pray the Bible on audio AV 82-3 or on video V-82, How to Read the Bible on audio AV 46-3 or on video V-46, Principles of Bible Interpretation, audio AV 79-1, video V-79.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

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