Saturday, December 13, 2008
Heavenly Father, how wondrous is your gift of salvation! When Adam and Eve fell, you promised a redeemer, and again and again you renewed this pledge through your messengers the prophets.
How awesome it was when Elijah appeared like a fire, and with words like a “flaming furnace” called your people back to you in holiness and faithfulness (Sirach 48:1,4). Then, in the fullness of time, you sent John the Baptist, the “new Elijah,” to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.
John the Baptist, we honor you in this season of Advent! Great in the sight of the Lord and filled with the Holy Spirit even from your mother’s womb, you were bold and passionate like Elijah. Called to be the herald of the Promised One, you went before him “in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
As you listened attentively, God spoke to you in the wilderness, just as he had to Elijah centuries earlier. Led by the Spirit, you became the voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Luke 3:2-4). You comforted those who were waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise—but you also challenged them to turn their hearts to God and bear the fruits of repentance. You preached not only with words but also through the example of your own holiness.
John, how your heart must have thrilled when you saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus at his baptism! Finally, the One you were sent to proclaim had come! You claimed that you were not worthy to loosen the straps of his sandals, but among those born of woman, none was greater than you (Luke 3:16; 7:28). We embrace your call to repentance with humble hearts. Pray that we would have your zeal to proclaim the kingdom of God with courage and compassion. May we prepare ourselves as you did to welcome Jesus into our midst..
meditation: The Word Among Us