The Proclamation of John the Baptist
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; 3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (NRSV)
Devotion: We know about advance teams – those workers who come weeks and days before an event to set things up, to make sure all is in order for the pop star or the political candidate. Nothing can be left to change. Rooms must be set just so; props must be on the ready; food must be as expected; fans or supporters must be seated for best advantage.
We know about advance teams – so it is not hard for us to appreciate the work of John the Baptist. Mark tells us that John was the fulfillment of scripture that a messenger would go ahead who would prepare the way for the Lord. John was a one-man advance team.
Each year we rehearse again the coming of Christ. We put off the singing of carols, opting purposefully for the singing of Advent hymns. We keep the festive red ribbons stored away, opting instead for more subdued colors in our worship space.
We light candles and reflect in turn on hope, peace, joy, and love. All these things are part of our preparation for the main event, our advance work before the big day when we celebrate once again Christ’s birth.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, help us this year to prepare ourselves as never before for your coming. Guide our thoughts and help us focus on what it means to follow you and live out your teachings. Amen.