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December 2013

Making a Path

Second Sunday in Advent

Scripture Reference: Matthew 3:1-12

From “Saving the Ants”  john - baptist

Preparation: Bring several tools for clearing brush or raking that one might use for making a path through a patch of brambles. If tools aren’t available, you may use pictures to illustrate.

I want you to imagine that you live in a little cottage in the forest. You have lived there by yourself for quite a while and you haven’t had any visitors, so the pathway to the house has become overgrown with vines and brambles. One day, Jesus comes to visit, but he can’t reach your door. He stands at the edge of the thicket and calls to you, “Clear the pathway! I want to come to your house!”

What might you do to get the path cleared so that Jesus could reach your house? What tools could you use? (Discuss the possibilities with the children. Some examples follow.) You could use a branch cutter on the thick vines and brambles. A shovel would be useful for digging out roots or removing big rocks. You could rake the path clear of old leaves and sticks or use a broom to sweep away dirt and sand. (You may show some examples of tools to children or pass around some of the smaller, safer tools, such as a trowel or short broom and dustpan.)

Do you think it would be hard work clearing a path through a bunch of thorns and brambles? If the path were really overgrown it might take all day. But knowing that Jesus was waiting to visit us would help us work harder and get the job done so that his path was clear.

The Bible describes someone who made a path for Jesus. “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness: ‘Prepare a pathway for the Lord’s coming! Make a straight road for him!'” (Matt. 3:3 NLT)

This was John the Baptist, getting the people ready to hear the message that Jesus was bringing. John didn’t use shovels or rakes to get the path ready for Jesus; he used his words.

The brambles and thorns that John wanted people to clear out of their lives were the bad habits and thoughts that kept people far away from God. John told people to repent, to stop doing the things that made God sad and to start living lives that made God happy. John told people to clear their hearts and minds so that they would be ready to welcome Jesus when he came.

This is the second week of Advent, and Christmas is coming closer. We need to remember to keep the path to our hearts clear so that Jesus can come to us this Christmas. We can keep the path clear by praying and reading the Bible and remembering that Christmas isn’t about getting things; it’s about Jesus being born.

Prayer:  Forgive us, Lord, for letting the thorns and brambles grow in our lives. Clear a path to our hearts, Lord Jesus. We want you to come in.

Note:  Feel free to write a comment or suggestion for Bible texts for future sermons. Do you have any questions about writing or delivering children’s sermons? I hope that these resources are a help to your ministry. Blessings in the new church year!

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