Artwork by James H.

Mark 1:1-8

by Page Highfill

In the midst of Advent, do you sometimes feel scattered among so many different emotions we experience? There’s the feeling of gratitude for God’s gift to us through his son’s poetic birthday. We may also feel his spirit hug us during worship or special Christmas music. Then, there may be sadness mixed with joy, as we re-experience touching the lives of homeless friends with care and gifting of holiday meals.

Might we also experience an Advent centering at those times? As I pondered that question among today’s text, a new meaning peeked out at me. Eugene Peterson describes it in verse 7 from The Message, “…The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life.”

As I reflect on John the Baptist – thunder in the desert, camel hair habit tied at his waist – I visualize this stagehand model for us. For here we are to be preparing for the Advent scene; striving to soften the hearts and minds of others, as well as our own, to love and honor the real star of this drama, Jesus. Yes, we too are mere stagehands during this dramatic revisit of God’s birthday star.

Imagine you are readying the stage for a grand annual production. The star is on his way. Is the stage ready? Are you ready?

Prayer: Lord, ground us in your love and help us see in this season, through your son Jesus, what we need to see, to be ready to carry forth your plan for us. Amen.