He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, "Prepare the way for the LORD's coming! Clear the road for him!" This messenger was John the Baptist. Mark 1: 3-4
With the Thanksgiving leftovers neatly tucked away in Tupperware, and having lost some sleep due to the extreme shopping demands of Black Friday, we turn the page of our calendars to December. And while the holidays continue to take on an increasing sense of the secular, there is no denying the center piece of all this activity is still one day, Christmas!
The very air is alive with seasonal flavor, the music, the decorations, all the extra food, and all the special programs at our schools and churches. Of course, then there are the lights! They are on our homes, on our city streets, and nearly blind us in every possible shopping venue. All this bears witness that Christmas is coming.
Admittedly the wider culture is not as predominately Christians as it was when I was growing up, and we see much evidence of "political correctness" watering down the expression of this "Holy Day." I worked for a large corporation for some time and I recall the annual holiday memo eschewing our use of the term "Merry Christmas" to clients. The powers that be preferred we use the term "Happy Holidays" to blunt any cultural sensitivity. In many cases, where once stood nativities and angels, now stand Santa and snowmen.
Yet with all the denials and assaults, the days leading up to December 25th still evoke a sense of anticipation and preparation. As Christians then, an understanding of Advent should come naturally to us, as that is how the season is defined for the faithful; anticipation of our Redeemer and the preparation for His coming.
While not necessarily considered a "Christmas reading," Mark 1:1-8, sets my heart singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." And while it may be difficult to walk in the sandals of our first century Christian sisters and brothers that waited for hundreds of years for the promised Messiah, we can relate to our own sense of excitement. For even us, with our twenty-first century big-box stores and Cyber-Monday specials, know what it is to look forward and get ready for Christmas.
So, as we hurry about planning, shopping, and facing down year-end deadlines, may we find some quiet time. Take a moment with Sod's Word as it speaks to us of what is to come, why all the excitement, and how the tree of life is truly full of Sod's greatest gifts.