Dec 03

“Preparing the Way” An object lesson for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Objects needed: A piece of red fabric that could be “rolled out” like a red carpet.
Theme/Main Idea: When someone important is coming, we prepare. At certain special events, we “roll out the red carpet,” either figuratively or literally. How are we preparing for Jesus this season?RedCarpet_900

“I have a question for you this morning… have you got your thanking caps on? Are you ready? Here it is… Raise your hand if you can tell me something special that you might do if an important person was coming to visit us?
[children respond]

Great answers! Fantastic ideas. I have something in my [bag, box… whatever you are “hiding” the object lesson in!] that I thought of as a special way to greet someone important that might come to visit us. Want to see?

[take piece of red cloth out and lay it out in front of the children.]

This is my red carpet! Do you like it? What do we do with a red carpet for special important visitors? Does anyone know?
[children respond]

That’s right, we put it out for them to walk on as they enter. It’s a super special thing that doesn’t happen very much except maybe for celebrities and politicians these days. It’s an idea that is thousands of years old, starting even before Jesus was born. Do you know why the color is red? Well, in ancient Greece they believed red was the color of the gods! One of their playwrights included a reference to rolling out a red carpet for one of their important leaders because he was supposed to be like a god! Crazy, right?

We roll out red carpets for Presidents, Popes, and world leaders. We put out red carpets for actors and musicians. But… none of these people are gods, are they? Are they?

[children respond emphatically… “NO!”]

There was only one human being in all of history that really deserved to get the “red carpet treatment.” Do you know who that was? That’s right… Jesus!

In the Bible story today, we hear about John, Jesus’ cousin and the wild prophet of the Judean wilderness. He called out to the people, quoting words from another prophet of old, Isaiah, saying, “Prepare the way for the Lord!” He asked the people to change their hearts and get ready for Jesus.

No. He didn’t tell them to roll out a red carpet, but John did ask the people to do something even more important. He told them to get their hearts ready to receive Jesus. He wanted them to make sure that when Jesus started preaching, teaching and healing people that they would recognize that he was God’s only son, sent to save them from their sin.

Have you thought about preparing your heart for Jesus? Maybe you can picture rolling out a red carpet in your heart and mind, saying, ‘Jesus, you are the most important thing in my life. It’s not about the lights and the glitter and the glow. It’s not about the presents and the bows. It’s about you, and how much you love me. I want to return that love by making you first in my life.’

You know, if each one of us here did that, I think our Advent season would be incredible!

Let’s pray:

God, thank you. Thank you for being the One we were waiting for. Lots of important people get special treatment in our lives… we roll out the red carpet or maybe just give them a lot of our time and attention. But, of all the people we could focus our love and devotion towards, no one is more worthy than you! Help us open our hearts and minds to all you have for us this Advent season. Bless our efforts to extend the love you have shown us to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Key Text: Luke 3:1-6, New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Tiberius Caesar had been ruling for 15 years. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. Herod was the ruler of Galilee. His brother Philip was the ruler of Iturea and Traconitis. Lysanias was ruler of Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. At that time God’s word came to John, son of Zechariah, in the desert. 3 He went into all the countryside around the Jordan River. There he preached that people should be baptized and turn away from their sins. Then God would forgive them. 4 Here is what is written in the book of Isaiah the prophet. It says,
“A messenger is calling out in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
Make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley will be filled in.
Every mountain and hill will be made level.
The crooked roads will become straight.
The rough ways will become smooth.
6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’ ” (Isaiah 40:3–5)