“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven” Luke 1:76-78 NIV
Why almost after the Back-to-School sales are over – when the pencils, notebooks, glue and crayons take up residence in their normal aisles again – the tinsel and Christmas ornaments start appearing in the superstore aisles. Lighted artificial Christmas trees appear in the garden section, taking over one aisle at a time until the holiday mood is in full swing.
You’d think that so much advance notice would help us all prepare for the coming holiday. Four months really ought to be plenty of time to to shop, bake, mail out cards, decorate, and plan our Christmas get-togethers, right?
With all the choices available and so much time to make our decisions, we shouldn’t need to be at the mall on December 24th, still hunting for that last sale; that elusive “perfect, gotta-have-it” gift. Should we?
Whatever the reason, I often find myself among those scrambling around at the last minute to be ready for Christmas on time. This year, I still have lots of sewing and baking to do yet in order to get my gifts finished.
Oh, I have good intentions each year to shop through the year, to start sewing and card-making in January. But life happens and I usually find myself trying to keep up with the busyness rather than getting ahead of it.
Being unprepared for Christmas is nothing new. For centuries before Christ came, God sent prophets to tell people he was coming. So why were there only a handful of shepherds on hand to see the angels the night of his birth?
Before Jesus started his ministry, John the Baptist was wearing camel-hair garments and eating locusts, preaching in the wilderness to let people know, but only a few really understood his message.
For three years, people followed Christ. But they still thought he was coming as a King to deliver them from Rome. They didn’t understand that he needed to die for them.
After his resurrection as he ascended into heaven, the angels told us that Christ would return. Even now, current events are shouting the message of his soon return from the mountain tops. They match up with the prophecies in God’s word.
Are we paying attention? Or will it sneak up on us like December 24th does each year and find us scrambling to be ready?