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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John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:4-8

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Ever see those silicon bracelets that people wear every now and again with whimsical sayings? The one in particular I’m thinking of said “I am second.” This bracelet got me thinking: what does it mean to be second in the world today?

The Bible says quite a bit about being second. Here we have John the Baptist, that wild and zany friend coming onto the scene to preach repentance and to baptize. But John isn’t out here for his own glory and achievement. It’s not about being first for John; he is preparing the way for Jesus. He is second.

I wonder what would change if we took on this role during this season of Advent. What does it mean to put Christ first in our lives? I think we might learn a thing or two as well about what it means to follow: to follow the star in the East, to follow as a disciple, to follow Jesus to the cross, to ultimately follow the risen Christ in our daily lives.

Jeff Binder

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Lord, teach me your ways about what you really value in this world. Help me to usher in a new day; your kingdom come. Let me be second today, and every day, when it comes to knowing 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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