1. The Baptist calls us to prepare through repentance
God is holy. God can not be in relationship with people who are unholy. Un-holiness is a sign of rebellion against God. People rebel against God when they 'do their own thing'. This is a loyalty issue. If we are trying to live our lives as good people and stay within the rules God has laid down, there are still two possibilities. On one hand we may be really trying to living a holy life out of love for God. On the other hand we may be trying to do our own thing but without breaking any of the rules God has laid down. There is a very subtle difference. One way is the path to holiness. The other is the path to rebellion as we find more and more creative ways to get around particular rules that we do not like. We are all tempted into some form of manipulation, deception and bending of God’s rules. These actions demonstrate our failures to love God, ourselves and our neighbour. We all us end up in some form of rebellion against God that needs to be repented. The good news of the Gospel is that if we are willing to recognize and repent our failures to love; God will forgive us. Advent is a short form of Lent. It is an opportunity to examine our lives and identify and confess the specific ways in which we have separated ourselves from God and each other in our hearts. Unfortunately we can not just skip repentance and pray for blanket forgiveness. This is not how it works in the spiritual world. We can not avoid the very hard work of facing the pain of our specific failures to love. The good news is that it does prepare us spiritually so that we can be ready for God to come and live in our hearts at Christmas.