Tomorrow my children will be arriving to celebrate with me. I am eager to hug each grandchild. But let’s pause for another Advent devotional on “preparation.”
Have you ever received the red carpet treatment? I used to speak at conferences and retreats and schools hundreds of times each year. Sometimes the person introducing me would give me a big build up, saying what a wonderful person I was. (You can fool a few people some of the time, right?) But after I was introduced, I would often ask the people seated in the audience to all stand up. “Now raise your hands high, high in the air.” And they did. “Now take all your expectations of me off that top shelf, lean over, bend down and put them on the lowest shelf.” I didn’t want to have to live up to all the hype.
I wonder if John the Baptist ever felt the same way. In Malachi 3:1, the Lord said, “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming.”
No doubt John the Baptist did not exactly fit the expectations of the people as a forerunner of the Messiah. With his camel hair robe and leather belt, he looked more like a wild animal than a holy prophet. But that didn’t stop him from proclaiming that Jesus, someone far greater than John, would soon be coming. And Jesus lived up to every bit of hype!
The messenger of the covenant, Christ himself, was eagerly awaited by the people. They looked forward to his arrival more than we look forward to Christmas. And we know he is surely coming again. Do you anticipate his coming eagerly as they did? Are you prepared?