As we enter the Christmas season I always seem to enter a more reflective state of mind. It is common to look back at the year that was and wonder, have I lived a life centered around God? Have I served those around me well, but better yet have I served Jesus well? More often than not, for me the false steps seem to stick out. Failures may float to the forefront of our thought but we are also given glimpses of the times when Christ was most brightly reflected in us. We are energized by the times when Christ seems the most alive in our lives and reminded of his goodness and grace. We are encouraged to go deeper seeking more of God in every way. Rather than growing discouraged in our mistakes we are able to turn to His word and see the promise fulfilled time and time again amongst his people. We are awakened once again to a season of hope and promise, buttressed by a history in scripture that speaks to truth, and we begin to prepare for the coming King.
If left unchecked, I can tend to be a little short-sighted in my thinking from time to time. Forgetting the outcome of a situation in the fairly recent past often hampers trust and a willingness to move forward if we are not careful. It is when we stop and think to the ways that God has answered prayer in our lives that our resolve is strengthened. But we also see God’s promises kept and answers to prayer throughout the entirety of scripture. The countless stories and prophesies that came to pass help to grow our faith. These prophesies and the love letter that is the Bible as a whole help to grow our faith in the one who created them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the many prophesies that speak of the coming Christ in the book of Isaiah.
In Isaiah Chapter 40 we see words that serve as a distant precursor for the words used by John the Baptist. “A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3 John knew what he was saying. Every time I read these words I am reminded of God’s promise to provide a way back to him. I am reminded to always be prepared for what he would have me do. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by calling for repentance and baptism of the Jewish people. The prophets of the old testament repeatedly spoke of what was to come to prepare the people for the coming of Christ. So how do we prepare the way for Christ’s return? As we celebrate his birth, we focus on just what his birth, life, death and resurrection mean. The hope that it brings for all mankind. We share this hope with others. We serve as he served. We forgive as he forgave. We try to love others as he has loved us. We attempt in many small ways to bring just a small fraction of the joy Jesus has brought into our lives. We run to him and prepare our hearts for his birth.
My favorite time of day is when I return home from work on day shift. Most days, as soon as I open the door leading from our garage I hear the word “daddy” shouted that signals that a very lanky little girl has already begun to leap towards me so I have less than a second to get my arms out to catch her. This is followed by a waddling little man with outstretched arms and a big toothy grin. That is how I want to always respond to Christ. I want to always be ready for him at any moment. I want to always be prepared.