And you, my child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him. (Luke 1:76, NIV)
When his son John is circumcised and named, Zechariah gives this beautiful blessing which includes identifying John (the Baptist) as a prophet who will go before the Lord to prepare the way.
Recently, I had to prepare to welcome a second dog into our household. I made a dog bed, bought toys and food, and reorganized to make space. When I brought him home, he had lost hair and couldn’t stop itching. The vet examined him and explained that he may have “environmental” allergies, the hardest to identify. But it could also be a food allergy, so special food was prescribed. After the vet visit, I thought about the comment that dogs can be allergic to dust mites – then I noticed how every room in my house needed a good cleaning. So I got to work doing the proper preparation to help the dog be comfortable in his new home. And his skin problems are improving.
How might this simple experience help me prepare for Jesus’ coming anew this Christmas? I think it’s time to clean out the dust that’s settled in and blocked out the light – and do some honest reflection on my life, attitudes and behaviors. Then I’ll be ready to welcome again the presence and power of Jesus Christ into every area of my life.
As we travel through this Advent season, help us to prepare to receive anew the coming of our Savior into our lives. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
– The Reverend Carolynn Winters-Hazelton, First Presbyterian Church, Falls City, and First Presbyterian Church, Hiawatha, KS