by Ann Hays
In this passage, the father, Zechariah, is prophesying the intention of his newborn son, John, that he will prepare the way for the ministry of Christ. God sent him as a messenger because God’s people needed to become refocused, to be in the proper frame of mind and heart in order to be open to the good news and the new covenant brought by Jesus.
During my study to understand the ministry of John, I came to realize that our Advent season mimics his ministry. Mankind needed to be refocused, repentant, and ready to receive Christ then, and we need to do the same thing this pre-Christmas season.
We reread the prophets and the Gospels remembering their mystery and awesomeness. We examine ourselves, asking for forgiveness for times of faithlessness. Also, it is during this month of December that we remember our childlike faith and excitement. Jesus explained to his disciples that “whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). What a great season to let loose your inner child!
One of my favorite ways to prepare during Advent is to walk the labyrinth that has been set up in our Fellowship Hall each year at this time. It is a wonderful way for me to get away from the hubbub of decorating, cooking, and shopping, and enter a world of meditation and restful fellowship with God. It helps me to remember, focus, and be ready.
Prayer: Heavenly father, please hold my heart. My relationship with you is my most important endeavor. Help me to know and do what you want me to know and do. Please let me feel your presence and love you with the faith of a little child. Amen.