Summary: Preparing to be a witness and a voice in the world for the coming of Christ. Practical things to do while we wait for the promise of His coming again.
Preparing to Receive the Gift
Most of us are preparing for Christmas right now and possibly the coming of family members to share the celebration. We are in the midst of decorating, shopping, cooking and cleaning. Somewhere in the background there is this nagging feeling that we have forgotten to do something….
John says he was sent to prepare for the coming of Christ.
He was sent to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He says he is a voice reminding people to make straight the path for the Lord.
Have you put any Christmas lights up? Maybe you decided it’s just too much trouble and bother. Did you ever think of them as part of your witness?
The world is in spiritual darkness. They need to see a reminder that He is the light of the world. Until they know Christ they remain “unenlightened”.
The angelic message came to the shepherds at night… when it was dark, when there was not much hope in their world. It still is a message for the dark night of the soul.
Have you sung any Christmas songs? Joy to the World reminds us to, ”prepare-uh Him-im ro-oo-om.” Is there any room in your schedule for a little joy FOR the world?
You could be the voice of hope and joy for someone who is having a rough time right now. There have been several recent deaths in our church charge and also in the community of Littleton. Call, send cards, invite the bereaved to go to Christmas programs with you. God can turn their mourning into joy.
At Christmas we tend to think back to Bethlehem.. when the Infinite became an infant. Jesus was sent to us to grow up in this world and face the harsh realities of sin and death. He overcame sin by his sinless life, perfectly keeping all of the law. Then he overcame death by his physical resurrection from the dead.
We light the advent wreath to remind us that Christ is coming to the earth again, this time as our triumphant King.
We indeed have something to which we can look forward with great anticipation.
Once a woman frantically bought a box of 50 identical Christmas cards so she could get them in the mail on time.
She hastily opened each card and signed her name without bothering to read what was printed inside.
Several days after they had been mailed, she came across one leftover card and discovered to her dismay that the message read:
“This card is sent just to say, a special gift is on the way.”
Perhaps that is the best message we could each write inside our Christmas cards!
John wanted us to know that the “special gift” of the incarnate Christ is on His way to us.
Last week I ran across an article about a mother of two autistic children. She said they LIVE for what’s coming, so she discovered that writing out a daily schedule helps them have peace. They live by calendars, dates and watches….no surprises please!
They need something to help them understand what is between now and the thing they are waiting to happen.
Christians have always been like that. From the earliest disciples the questions continually bombarded Christ, …
Why are you going away? When are you coming back? How will we know the signs of your coming?
Jesus’s answer was always the same: I don’t know, but I promise I will return and whenever it is, will you be ready?
Second Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
So, why is he waiting? He is waiting for you!
Getting ready for Christ’s return means believing in Him and letting him cleanse your heart. After that, you are ready to cast all your care upon Him. His peace will be in your heart and you will look forward to his coming with great hope.
"In late 18th century Poland, the Kaiser’s forces were burning all the Jewish villages. One village had been burned and nothing was left standing. As the sun came up the next morning an old Jewish gentlemen pounded a few boards together, made a sellers stall and opened it up for business.
A young man walked passed, stared in disbelief and asked,
"What are you selling among these ruins?”
The man smiled and said, "I am selling hope.”
You can sell water in a dry desert, so the place to sell hope is on the ash heap of destruction.
God wants us to give hope to this world. He wants us to be people of hope who see beyond the brokenness and offer a measure of his grace to comfort the hurting people we encounter.