Message from the Pastor
Dear Bother’s and Sisters,
I wonder if you have ever given any thought to the extent of the preparations involved when a new President of the United States is elected. Have you ever thought of the preparations involved when the President of the United States makes a visit to a local community? Secret Service agents are the advance people or “advance men” who check all aspects of the route to be traveled.
Jesus had an advance man-someone who was in charge of preparing the way for his coming — John the Baptist. John wasn’t hired by Jesus for this task. The prophet Isaiah assigned him to this task some 400 years before. The appearance of John the Baptist in the wilderness was the most important event in the life of the nation of Israel for more than four hundred years.
Two things may surprise us about John the Baptist. One is how popular John was. The other is his role in the drama of the first Christmas. Luke begins his version of the Christmas story not with Mary and Joseph but with a couple named Zacharias and Elizabeth who were childless late in life. One day Zacharias was visited by angel Gabriel to announce that Elizabeth will bear a son, and they are to call him John…”
John the Baptist’s ministry was a stunning success. Untold numbers of people from all over the area came to be baptized by him in the river Jordan. Many of those who were baptized became his disciples. In spite of great success as a preacher, John was willing to direct attention not to himself but to Jesus. That kind of humility is a rare commodity even today. It was not his intent to draw attention to himself. His greatest desire was to glorify Jesus. John willingly took on the part of a “second fiddle”.
John was a man of humility and great courage. Just as impressive, however, was his determination to bear witness to the light. John bore witness to the light in his preaching. He bore witness in his life; on the banks of the Jordan he proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God. He was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.
So, as you celebrate this Christmas season, as you think about all the import figures and events of that first Christmas, give a little thought to another small child born six months before Christ to a deeply devout couple named Zacharias and Elizabeth. Their son was not the Messiah. He simply bore witness to the Messiah. There was no star shining over the house where he laid, just a mute old man beaming down at him with pride and great joy. It was the joy of one who had lived to see the promises of God fulfilled. That was John the Baptist-humility, courage and a commitment to bear witness to the light of God.
During this pandemic when we are gripped with fear and uncertainty all around us, each one of us who are followers of Jesus Christ is called to a bold commitment to bear witness to the light of God. May you and yours have a wonderful advent season!