Yesterday we saw that each of us has a responsibility not only to prepare our own hearts for the arrival of the baby in the stable but also to prepare those around us to seek God.
This year, with the help of my daughter, I was able to get all my shopping and gift wrapping done before the end of October. I had fun picking out a special gift for each person on my list, sometimes making the gifts myself. I can hardly wait for Christmas to arrive and to see the faces of those I love as they unwrap my packages. After weeks of shopping and baking and, yes, Advent preparation, many parents find great delight in watching their children discover what is hidden under the bows and gift wrap.
Parents have an important role to play in helping their children understand the true meaning of Christmas. In Luke 1:17, an angel predicted that John the Baptist would become “a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” Imagine the weight of responsibility Zecharias must have felt, knowing his son John would be the forerunner for the Messiah!
Not every one of you reading these devotionals is a parent. Neither was John the Baptist. But we all have the same responsibility as John. We need to teach those around us to be ready for the return of the Lord. The first time, Jesus did not come decorated with bows and gift wrap, but his second coming will be full of glory. Advent offers a natural opportunity to prepare both ourselves and others for the reality of the coming kingdom.