Yesterday was the first day of Advent, the time in the church calender when we focus on and celebrate Christ’s coming. As a kid, I remember our family getting all dolled up on an advent morning in order to stand in front of the church, for my dad to read something “adventy”, and to light a candle. Other than that, Advent didn’t really mean anything.
But more and more I am beginning to understand this whole “church calender” thing. Being Baptist I was nearly opposed to traditional liturgy, but Scum Morning Church follows it every week. And I’m loving it.
Yesterday I read Luke 1:1-25 and John 1:1-8. I found myself wondering, Why was John the Baptist’s birth and ministry so important to the story of Jesus? I mean, really. He’s not mentioned that much in the gospels or after. He even loses disciples to Jesus. So why did God decide to work not one, but two miraculous conceptions at that time? I mean, I’m glad he gave Elizabeth a son to take away her “disgrace among the people” (Lk 1:25), but John the Baptist has always been a mystery to me.
So, I was reading and praying and thinking, then I noticed this verse:
Luke 1:16 Many of the people of Israel will [John] bring back to the Lord their God.
and this verse:
John 1:7 [John] came as a witness to testify concerning that light (Jesus), so that through him all might believe.
So That ALL Might Believe!
God sent John out before Jesus because he wanted all people to believe in him. This isn’t exactly new news to me, but it struck me the lengths God went to to reveal himself.
God initiated the relationship. He said, “Hey, I want them to know me!” So, he created John the Baptist to point the way to Jesus who, being God, reveals God to us (Jn 1:18). Wow!
So often we get bogged down with the idea that we need to do certain things, live a certain way in order for God to love or notice us, but here during Advent season we are reminded that He initiated it! And He loves us and seeks us out, not just 2013 years ago (give or take), but now! Today!
I lit a candle yesterday symbolic of Christ’s presence, to remind me of his great love, and I left it burning all day. Each time I saw it peace filled my heart.
I pray you have peace in the knowledge of his love this holiday season.