Cover image for Preparing for Jesus : meditations on the coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom
Preparing for Jesus : meditations on the coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom
Wangerin, Walter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : ZondervanPublishingHouse, [1999]

Physical Description:
187 pages ; 19 cm
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BV40 .W29 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Holiday
BV40 .W29 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Holiday

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In Preparing for Jesus, best-selling author and master storyteller Walter Wangerin Jr. recreates verbal images of the events surrounding the Advent of Christ, offering a devotional journey into the heart of the Christmas season. Through rich detail and vivid images, these moving meditations make Christ's birth both intimate and immediate, allowing us to see Christmas from its original happening to its perennial recurrence in our hearts. Preparing for Jesus is sure to be a seasonal classic, treasured year after year.

Author Notes

Walter Wangerin Jr. first came to prominence as the award-winning author of The Book of the Dun Cow. He has since won many other awards and honors for his books, which include The Book of God, Reliving the Passion, Mourning into Dancing, The Manger Is Empty, and Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? He wrote the best-selling children's book Mary's First Christmas. Wangerin holds the Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University, where he is writer-in-residence. He lives with his wife in Valparaiso, Indiana.



Part One Prepare December One A Teaching: Four Questions for the Final Advent Mark 13:32 -- 37: Jesus said, "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed. Watch -- for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. "Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. "Watch, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. "And what I say to you I say to all: Watch." The word advent is derived from the Latin adventus, which means "the approach" or "the arrival." The verb is advenio: "I arrive. I come. I am coming." Who is coming? As a season of the Christian year, Advent is ancient. It goes back at least to the middle of the sixth century. Already then its observance defined not only the One who was coming, but also those who were faithfully and self-consciously waiting. It defined the peculiar people who looked forward to the coming of that One. Who is coming? Who awaits him? By the thirteenth century, the Church universal had recognized the season of Advent as the beginning of its year. Advent consisted of four Sundays, the first of which was New Year's Day for Christians everywhere -- and so it was that Advent also defined the times, endings and beginnings, the past and the present, as well as the future when the Blessed One would come. Who is coming? Who awaits him? And when will he get here? For nearly one thousand five hundred years Christians have spent the days of Advent not in passive inaction, but in activities strenuous and profitable: they have prepared themselves by scrubbing and cleaning their lives, by examining and repairing their souls -- even as people generally prepare themselves body and home to receive a visitor of ineffable importance. Who is coming? Who awaits him? When will he get here? And how shall the people prepare? The Son of man, he is coming. Jesus. That one. Him. And we are the people who await him. You and I. Since it was for us he died, we are the ones who wait in love. And since he ascended to heaven with promises to return, we wait in faith -- for at the next and final Advent, Jesus will take us as friends, as brothers and sisters into his house forevermore. And when will he get here? Like any New Year's Day: at the end and the beginning. But that Advent to come -- the final arrival of Jesus in glory -- will itself cause the end of this present age and the beginning of our eternal joy. When will that be? Ah, my friend, I do not know. No one knows its day or hour. Therefore Jesus commands us to "Watch. Stay awake. Get ready. Prepare, prepare -- and watch!" Finally, then, how shall we prepare? In these days, while yet there are days and time, by what activity should we make ourselves ready? Why, by meditating on his first coming -- for though the future may be hidden from us the past is not, and the one can teach us the other. The story of the birth of Jesus is open before us. We have a spiritual and holy account of the time when God himself directed preparations for that first coming of his Son into the world. What God ordains is always good. Therefore, those preparations may be the perfect pattern for our own this year again, this year too. Behold, I bring you good news of great joy! The people who heard the news of that first Advent were no less human than we. They moved through complex stages of response: doubt, fear, questioning, the obedience of love, the obedience of legalism, joy and song, despair and anger. There were groups of people, shepherds, the Magi, innocent children; there were individuals, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Herod. Some concluded their preparations in faith. Some in fury. Any one of these might be you, my friend. Or me. But we have the advantage, now, of meditation: in quietness and confidence to choose the right response, and, by the grace of the present Spirit of Jesus, to practice the right preparation for the coming of the Lord in Glory. So let us enter the story one more time. In this present season of Advent let us experience the infant's Advent in the past and so make ourselves ready for the Advent of the Lord of Glory in the future. O Lord, Stir up, we beg you, your power -- and come. Come even now into this season of our meditations, that by your protection we may be rescued from our sins, and saved by your mighty deliverance in order to look forward to your final arrival with the joy that cannot be uttered. We pray in your name, O Lord, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen Excerpted from Preparing for Jesus C: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom by Walter Wangerin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 11
Part 1 Prepare
December 1 A Teaching: Four Questions for the Final Adventp. 21
Part 2 Zechariah
December 2 A Consolation: You Are Not Little in the Universep. 27
December 3 O Zechariah: How Did It Feel Meeting Glory Face to Face?p. 31
December 4 A Teaching: How God Enlarges Little Prayersp. 36
December 5 An Exhortation: Trust God, and His Signs Will Delight Youp. 41
December 6 Ah, Zechariah, You Who Doubted: What a Model of Obedience You've Becomep. 46
Part 3 Mary
December 7 An Exhortation: Daily to Join the Sisterhood of Maryp. 53
December 8 A Call: To Self-Examination, and to Fear!p. 58
December 9 A Teaching: What Sort of King Will the Son of David Be?p. 62
December 10 A Teaching: What Sort of Child Is Born of Holiness and Humanity?p. 65
December 11 O Mary: How Blessed Is Your "Yes!"p. 68
Part 4 Elizabeth
December 12 The Story: Two Mothers Meetp. 73
December 13 Elizabeth's Blessing: Makes Mary a Model for the Faithfulp. 77
December 14 An Effusion: What Singing at the Advent of Our King!p. 81
December 15 Mary's Song: Echoing the Songs of Prophets and Angelsp. 84
December 16 A Teaching: How Mercy Comes, What Mercy Isp. 88
Part 5 John
December 17 A Teaching: What John Becomes for Every Adventp. 95
December 18 An Exhortation: Serve as Zechariah Defines Servicep. 99
Part 6 Joseph
December 19 Learn of Joseph: The Character of Righteousnessp. 107
December 20 Learn of God: Four Gifts of Christmasp. 111
December 21 An Exaltation: The Fourth Gift, Goodness!p. 115
Part 7 Jesus
December 22 The Story: Going Up to Bethlehemp. 121
December 23 O Mary, Virgin Mother: May I Walk with You a While?p. 124
Christmas Eve
The Story: The Holy, Human Birthp. 127
Christmas Day
Christmas Day: Our Door to the Nativityp. 130
The First Day of Christmas
An Exaltation: Jesus, Here We Come!p. 134
The Second Day of Christmas
Learn of the Shepherds: Five Stages of Faithp. 137
The Third Day of Christmas
O My Lord, I Love the Names by Which We Know Youp. 141
Part 8 Simeon and Anna
The Fourth Day of Christmas
The Story: Ascending to the Templep. 147
The Fifth Day of Christmas
The Story: The Prophets Prove Him the Messiahp. 151
The Sixth Day of Christmas
Lord, I Am at Peace: This Christmas Too, Mine Eyes Have Seen Youp. 155
The Seventh Day of Christmas
The Story: The Sorrow of Mary, His Motherp. 159
Part 9 The Two Kings
The Eighth Day of Christmas--The First of the Calendar Year
The Story: Herod the Great and Greatnessp. 165
The Ninth Day of Christmas
An Exhortation to Christians: Do Not Blame the World (The Magi), But Follow!p. 170
The Tenth Day of Christmas
O Little King: Receive the Best I Have to Offer Youp. 175
The Eleventh Day of Christmas
A Teaching: As We Return to a Warring Worldp. 179
The Twelfth Day of Christmas--The Epiphany
A Benediction: Christ Is in Us Nowp. 185