Advent is here: the season that beckons us to remember our past and where we came from and yet also compels us to look to the future of the promised Messiah.

In the midst of schedules, homework, church obligations, holiday concerts, parties, and play…

We are called to pause for a moment and focus on God, our Creator and on Christ, the Bringer of Peace.

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A voice is crying out: “Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God! Every valley will be raised up, and every mountain and hill will be flattened. Uneven ground will become level, and rough terrain a valley plain. The Lord’s glory will appear, and all humanity will see it together; the Lord’s mouth has commanded it.”

Isaiah 40:3-5

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Today we hear Isaiah speak to the people of Israel preparing for the arrival of the Lord after years of torment and exile at the hands of the Babylonian oppressors. Think of the old Westerns, when the new guy (usually Clint Eastwood) comes into town to straighten things up and save the day!

So how do we prepare for the coming of the Lord into our lives this Advent season? Will we literally level our driveways; maybe dynamite a mountain or two? Or perhaps we can think about our spiritual preparations.

How is your heart these days? What obstacles in your spiritual life would prevent God from entering into your daily life? No matter how much work you do to prepare, no matter how many or few obstacles you may have in your life, the message from Isaiah is pretty clear: “There’s a new sheriff in town!,” and you and I will be witnesses together to God’s saving love.

Jeff Binder

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Examine my heart, O God, as you make a way into my life. Remove any obstacles that stand in the way of an authentic relationship with you. Amen.

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May we be comforted by your history of loving us, dear Lord, at peace with your daily presence, and energized for the adventures that lie ahead.

Jeff Binder

Jeff Binder is serving as the Designated Pastor of Valley Community Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. He is engaged to be married to his fiancée, Julie, in December 2017. Jeff is an avid Cleveland sports fan and outdoorsman; he can be found cheering on the efforts of his teams or enjoying hiking or running on his days off. Jeff’s writings and sermons can be found on his blog:

Unto Us: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel


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