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Whenever a United States president visits a city, the city prepares extensively. Technicians check and recheck security, install the PA system where he speaks, and even trim the shrubbery along the route he will travel. They do all this and more because the president is a very special person. In a similar way, it was fitting that people should prepare for the Messiah’s entry into the world. Isaiah the prophet wrote that the people should clear the roads, fill in the valleys, and smooth out the rough places. John the Baptist urged people to repent of their sins, to help the poor, and to stop cheating one another. All of this was to prepare for the Messiah’s arrival. John said, “I baptize you with water. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He will separate the wheat from the chaff. The Messiah arrived. He declared that God’s rule was about to appear. God would take back his kingdom from people who violated God’s righteous standards. Sadly, most people rejected Him, nailed Him to a cross, thinking they had gotten rid of Him. But God raised Him from the dead. He is alive today. He offers to forgive the sins of all who trust in Him. He left, but promised to come back and establish His kingdom. Until then, those who accept him as their King share His message of love and forgiveness. They work to foster justice in our world. They do all this to prepare for His return.

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