Joy and anticipation.
These were felt by those who gathered around Elizabeth and Zechariah on the 8th day:
the day of circumcision….the day of naming.
Unusual circumstances surrounded the birth of John:
Elizabeth’s old age, Zechariah losing his ability to speak
and now regaining it for the purpose of naming his son.
The people would remember such unusual goings on.
Even the name, “John”, a name meaning “Yahweh has shown favor”
captured their curiosity.
Knowing how God had acted in the Old Testament,
how unusual events had meaning and often foreshadowed something to come,
they would have said “….keep an eye on this one….”
And sure enough….John turned out to be that messenger sent by God
to prepare the world for the promised Savior.
We stand at the threshold of Christmas….with all those who awaited the savior.
We allow ourselves to be imbued with joy and anticipation.
As hokey as it sounds, just as we marinate a steak
so the flavor of the seasonings soak into the food
making it all the more delightful to our taste buds,
as God’s people we are marinated in joy and anticipation these last few days
that these flavors of the season
will soak deep into our being…become part of us….
increase the delight of our Christmas celebration.
By the time John stepped onto the stage and fulfilled his role,
Jesus had already been in our midst, been present among the people for over 25 years.
John did not prepare people for the birth of Christ….
John prepared people for the acceptance of Christ, the acceptance of his origins,
the acceptance of his message.
John prepared the people to receive God’s presence among them.
God is present among us….present in ways that are yet beyond our awareness.
We respond to this presence with joy…..with conscious appreciation.
We approach this presence with anticipation….
the glory of Christ’s birth is but a foretaste,
a small measure of the glory to come with the fullness of God’s kingdom.
It is our hope, it is our promise that as we celebrate this great event in history—
the coming of Christ to this world—
we will be drawn into, we will see more clearly and experience more fully,
the mystery of God’s presence among us.
Today’s prayer: “O Lord, the promise You made long ago is fulfilled with the birth of Jesus Your Son. Fill us anew with the desire to seek him with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole soul. Awaken within us a new life filled with love. Help us always to embrace his truth and to walk in his ways. Amen!”
3rd Week of Advent
Joy and anticipation.