Jesus’ cousin John travels Jordan proclaiming and performing baptism for the forgiveness of sins and preaches from Isaiah. During Advent, we tend to think of this as preparing for Jesus’ birth, but what does it mean to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus?
John describes it as making paths straight and the ground level and smooth. Spiritually, it’s removing the obstacles that keep us from letting God. in. Start by identifying them. What keeps you from taking up a spiritual discipline like daily Bible reading or meditation or journalling? Write it down on the left half of piece of paper.
The hardest part is figuring out how to overcome the obstacle. If time is the problem, can you get up 15 minutes early or do you think you can do it at lunch or just before going to bed? Write that in pencil on the right. Try it for a week and if it doesn’t work, erase it and try something else.
Here are some tips:
Make a plan. At the beginning of each liturgical year I get all the notebooks I’ll need for my journalling and write the Scripture in it with the dates so I have them handy and can hold myself accountable. There are lectionary apps available and the lectionary is also at Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Don’t get frustrated. My first journal has big gaps in it as I figured out what worked for me and what didn’t.
Keep playing around until you find something you like to do.
Store journals in a safe place at the end of the year. One of the nice things about working with a lectionary is that in three years you can look back on what you wrote the first time you encountered the passages.