WEEK THREE: JOY WITH THE RISING SUN
Radiant Christmas Lights
Isaiah 40:3 (NRSV)
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Do you enjoy all of the preparations and festivities of Advent? I love to decorate with Christmas lights and festive décor, to cook and bake, to find gifts and wrap them, to write Christmas notes, to attend events, and to invite friends and family to our home. Most of all, I love to light the Advent candles and spend special time preparing my heart for Jesus once again. The whole season is a busy but joyous time for me. There is joy in the preparation and the anticipation!
John the Baptist became this one that Isaiah prophesied would prepare the way of the Lord. John urged people to repent and be baptized, to be ready for the One that was to come. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). I wonder if John was filled with joy as he prepared the people, as he anticipated the One who was to come. We know he had his doubts as he later sat in prison and sent word to ask Jesus, “Are you the one?”
The difference for us- and our reason for joy in the preparing and the anticipating- is that we KNOW Jesus came as our Messiah! We know the story, we know how much he loves us. Even as we prepare and anticipate, we are privileged to have the joyful ending already in mind and forever in our hearts. May our joy be as festive as a bright string of Christmas lights!
Joy radiates in our preparation and anticipation of Jesus, and our delight because he has already come.