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Psalm 1, 2, 3; Isaiah 1: 10-20; Luke 20: 1-8

It is easy to get wrapped up in the logistical preparation of Advent: get fresh candles for the Advent wreath, hang garland around the front door, decorate the Christmas tree, address and mail Christmas cards.

In all this running around, I am missing something deeper. How do I prepare my heart to turn toward Jesus?

The scriptures appointed for today offer us guidance. Psalm 1 advises that by meditating on the law of God, we are nourished. It is worth noting there are two components—being still to meditate and studying the word of God.

In Isaiah, the people of God are advised to leave behind their blood sacrifices and challenged to turn their lives in a different direction: be cleansed, do good things, seek justice, advocate for those in need.

We read of an exchange in Luke between Jesus and the chief priests about the source of John’s baptism. In their pride, the priests are noncommittal in their response for fear that they will be judged by Jesus or the people.

We need Advent to focus and prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus. Be intentional about reflection and study. Be inspired to extend alms to those in need. Be humble and open to growing. Rejoice, for the Messiah is coming!

Almighty God, we pray that the Holy Spirit
will inspire and focus our hearts as we prepare
to receive your Son in joy. Amen.


Katherine Harper, MPH
Master of Divinity, Class of 2017
Seminary of the Southwest
Diocese of Alabama





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Katherine is a seminarian at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest. She moved with her husband
Sam and daughter Josephine from Birmingham, Alabama, to Austin in August 2014. Prior to seminary, Katherine worked in the field of public health and wellness for 15 years. She earned a Master of Public Health degree from the UAB School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama.