Summary: God sent us a prophet in the person of John the Baptist to "prepare the way of the Lord." Take a look at the events surrounding his life and see what God did with the wonder of His preparation.
The Wonder of His Preparation
(Part 1, The Wonder of Christmas)
Text: Luke 1:1-80 (pg. 723 in pew Bible)
This is the time of year when we find that our houses don’t have adequate lighting and there are not enough green plants in our homes that look like candy, so we go and put these things into place. And what’s even more amazing is that the stores sense this community need and fill the shelves with all kinds of goodies to make the necessity for greenery and adequate lighting available to those needy souls. Of course, I myself have fallen into this overwhelming need to adorn my house with lights by the hundreds, and I‘ve been a part of the “new plant and greenery” fad for the interior of my home.
But, this is not without a cause. I think some of the best things come out at Christmas time. Take Eggnog for instance. I cannot find another time of year when this absolutely perfect blend of cinnamon, vanilla, milk and eggs, makes its way to the refrigerator section of the supermarkets. I love a good Eggnog. It can’t be too thick because it kind of coats your teeth and that feels just nasty. I always add a little milk to the mix when I get Eggnog. Nothing is more refreshing. That just right smoothness of cinnamon delight going so effortlessly down the hatch, covering every inch of your taste buds with a lingering flavor of vanilla and cold milk. Ahhhhh. How many of you want Eggnog right now?
The other one is Candy Canes. I cannot find them anytime else but at Christmas. I think the best reason to have the greenery and plant festival in your house is to give the Candy Canes someplace to hang. You come home and plant yourself in front of the television, grab a nice cold glass of your perfectly blended eggnog, kick back, reach over and grab a nicely wrapped Cane off the tree, and brother, you’re set!
But, only at Christmas time do we get to enjoy these simple pleasures of the season. Someone would think that these items would sell as good throughout the year, but they just don’t. They get overlooked. First, we get aggravated with this big bulbous tree in the way and tinsel that finds its way into the uttermost parts of our laundry. The Candy Canes are no longer in easy-to-reach places and a few of the lights have gone out, so now none of them work. Ahhrrrgggg!! The best and worst of Christmas time. In time these things get put back and forgotten until next year.
We often forget what made this season such a great time to celebrate. We often forget what we are supposed to be celebrating. But people have been preaching about the commercializing of Christmas for years, so I’m not going to do it. Instead, I’m going to expect that you all understand that Jesus’ birth is why we can celebrate this time of year. The wonder of it all is how this event came to pass.
Let me read from a book of mine called Grace For The Moment, by christian author Max Lucado. This little segment is entitled “Ponder the Love of God.” (pg. 363)
This is the reason we love the Lord. This is the question we must ask at this time of year. It helps put the holiday festivities in perspective.
This month we are going to look at the accounts of the birth of Christ in the gospels. Starting with Luke, we need to understand the preparation the Lord took in bringing His son to this earth. He not only prepared the way of the newborn King, He also made preparation for a herald, a proclaimer who was to instruct people to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
A man who was born for the sole purpose of declaring the way of our Savior is often overlooked. To better understand the evidence of the birth of Christ, let’s look at God’s wonder surrounding the birth of John the Baptist.
1. Zechariah’s Encounter. (v. 11)
For a man like Zechariah to get a message from God in the form of an angel must have been some kind of faith building experience. At least you would think. But, here stands a priest of God’s people, in the middle of a duty he probably will never get to perform again in his lifetime. He was chosen by lot, in the words, it was his turn to perform this sacred duty to burn incense for the Lord in a long line of priests. This was something he was waiting to do, waiting to fulfill and he is interrupted by Gabriel, an angel of the Lord. The message that Zechariah was given was a message that God intended to be the foretelling of His personal herald. John was to be the word for the Word to come. In the midst of this. God was going to do something great as well. He was going to take an old man and an old woman and make an example of His power in the fruit of their union. This seems to be a popular course of action for God when He wants to remind His people of the promises He has made. At least it looks that way on the surface.