Summary: Are you ready for the Messiah?
The Promise of John the Baptist – Making room for Jesus
Are you ready for Christmas?
What do you do to get ready for Christmas?
Are you ready for Jesus?
Read Luke 1:5-25
This is an amazing story – the old priest encountering Gabriel in the temple, the old couple conceiving a baby, and old woman being honoured by God…
But today I’m not going to focus on the story – I’m going to focus on the baby, John.
“He will go on before the Lord, in the Spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
How do we prepare for Jesus?
How do we “Make straight the way for the Lord!” in our own lives?
Making space for Jesus right now.
How do we get ready for the Second Advent – when Jesus returns, or when we return to him?
And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
I think we find the answer in the promise of John the Baptist.
Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
Fathers to the children – I don’t want to get too metaphorical to quickly here.
I want to talk to the fathers present.
We fathers get ready by turning our hearts toward our children. We men can get so distracted by so many things, and our hearts can get drawn away by so many things, so that even though we may not die, or leave the house, we orphan our children. We get drawn away by our jobs, we may tell ourselves that we are doing it all for our families, but our families would likely be better off with less money and more of us, or less prestige and more of us.
We can get distracted by hobbies, addictions, or causes: even helping others so that our own children are fatherless while we go about helping other orphans.
We need to set these distractions aside and realize that the best thing that we can offer this world is a well-parented child.
I think that God singles out the fathers here because we are the ones that are more easily distracted of the two genders – it is not true of every man and every woman, but in general it is true. This is why third-world development agencies are realizing that it is often more productive to work with women rather than men – the women will be sure that any resources given to her will go for the benefit of her children and family while the men have been known to waste it away.
A few weeks ago we looked at the passage that says that this is what love is: to lay down your life for another. (1 John 3:16) If we are going to turn our hearts toward our children, we must lay down our lives for them – to set aside our interests for theirs, to lay aside our growth for theirs, to set aside our passions for theirs, to give our lives to them so that they can be who God created them to be.
They say that Christmas is all about the kids – as we fathers prepare our hearts for the coming of the Savior, it is all about the kids.
Turn the hearts of the Husbands to their wives
I know that it does not say this here, but It is another issue of the modern era that we men are not only distracted from our children, but also from our wives.
We are distracted from our wives by the same things as distract us from the kids, and we can add to that the distraction of paper and digital women, as well as the false images of real live women.
The words written in Proverbs are as true today as they were thousands of years ago when they were written:
Dear friend, pay close attention to this, my wisdom; listen very closely to the way I see it.
Then you’ll acquire a taste for good sense;
what I tell you will keep you out of trouble.
3-6 The lips of a seductive woman are oh so sweet,
her soft words are oh so smooth.
But it won’t be long before she’s gravel in your mouth,
a pain in your gut, a wound in your heart.
She’s dancing down the primrose path to Death;