Psalm 93, 96
Revelation 22:6–11, 18–20
What then is this child going to be? Luke 1:66
Two more sleeps! A lot of children are getting excited about Santa visiting their homes tomorrow night and hoping for gifts to miraculously appear under the tree. A great deal of preparation and expectation goes into the weeks and days leading up to Christmas Day. During Advent, we have been preparing our hearts for the expected birth of the Baby Jesus. Indeed two births have been heralded by an angel, sent to announce to two unsuspecting families that each will welcome a son. These will be no ordinary sons, but special men, who will promote God's kingdom here on earth. In our Advent readings, John has now been born, to the delight of Elizabeth and Zechariah. This boy, ordained by God to play a key role in the drama of the ages, will grow “to be called a prophet of the Most High.” He will “go on before the Lord to prepare a way for Him”. Indeed, John will be first to call Jesus the Messiah.
Along with youngsters counting the “sleeps” until Christmas, we too are excited as we prepare for the birth of Jesus. Over the ages, has there ever been anything awaited with more anticipation than the birth of a baby? I think of Mary, in the throes of labour, arriving in Bethlehem, jogging along on a donkey to find that there was no available room where she might be delivered of her baby in some degree of comfort. I compare Mary's journey with my “in labour” trips, being driven in a comfortable car to the pristine sanctuary of a Toronto hospital. Jesus entered this world in a dirty, uncomfortable byre. Will He find a more welcoming place in our hearts this Christmastide? Have we prepared a pure and loving space for Him? Will we heed Zechariah's prophesy as he spoke lovingly of his son John, ”for he will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” Come, Lord Jesus.
– Carolyn Madeley