In lighting the second candle of the Advent wreath today, we acknowledge the messengers sent to prepare the way for Christ. John prepared people for Christ's first coming. Today's messengers prepare people for Christ's return. God wants us to view these messengers as evidence of his love. He wants us to listen to their message, through which God himself makes us ready.
John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord by preaching repentance.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar--when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene-- 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all mankind will see God's salvation.’”