Crossroads: The Candle of Preparation – Mary and Joseph

This week we light the second candle on the Advent wreath. This candle is often referred to as the Candle of Preparation, or the Bethlehem Candle. As we light the second candle, our focus centers on Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus, the Christ child.

advent_wreath_xsmRead Luke 2:1-7.

Mary and Joseph knew that they were about to become parents of the Messiah. On separate occasions, angels had visited with Mary and then with Joseph to share with them the good news that God had chosen them to be the parents of the long-expected Savior, Jesus. (Luke 1:26-38 records Mary’s encounter with the angel; Joseph’s experience is found in Matthew 1:18-25.) Since they realized Jesus would soon be born, Mary and Joseph knew they needed to prepare for his coming.

Luke tells us that one of the many things Mary and Joseph had to do before Jesus was born was leave their hometown of Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem. The Roman government was conducting a census during the time leading up to Jesus’ birth, so Joseph and Mary were required to journey to Bethlehem to participate in the census.

God wanted Mary and Joseph to be in a different place when they welcomed Jesus into their lives. The journey to Bethlehem was God’s way of preparing Mary and Joseph for the changes they would experience when Jesus was born. This reality is true for us as well. When Jesus comes into our lives, everything changes. We cannot stay in the same place and be the same people once Jesus enters our lives. God wants us to change. God wants us to be different. God wants us to be prepared to make changes when we welcome Jesus into our lives.

As we light this second candle of the Advent wreath, we prepare ourselves once again to welcome Jesus into our lives when we celebrate His birth on Christmas Day. What changes does God ask of us as we prepare for Jesus? Does God want you to be different? How? As you light the second candle of Advent—the Candle of Preparation—ask God to show you the changes God expects from you as we prepare for the birth of our Savior, Jesus.


God, thank you for this time of preparation. As we wait for the birth of Jesus, help us to remember Mary and Joseph and their preparation for Jesus. Reveal to each one of us what you would like us to change as we prepare to welcome Jesus into our lives once again. Amen.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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