By CRAIG HARRIS
Luke 1: 76 - 80 (NIV): 76 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, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
This passage is the second half of "Zechariah's Song", which Zechariah said after the miraculous birth of his son, John the Baptist. Yes, John's birth was a miracle, but so is every birth. God, and only God, gives life and we should recognize this. And John was born with a purpose: to prepare the way for the Lord.
We, too, are born with a purpose. John the Baptist helped prepare the way for Jesus' first coming, but we are preparing for his second. We do so the same way John did, by calling people to repentance and preaching that God will fulfill his prophecies and promises.
The Bible had foretold that a light would dawn on people living in darkness (Isaiah 9:2). God would shine his light of hope and love, guidance and salvation on people living in distress. We can take comfort that God fulfilled this promise. Jesus was born just where the prophet Micah said he would be, then he grew up and began his ministry in Galilee, where Isaiah said he would. Jesus brought light to all who believed. He brought salvation through his sacrifice. He brought hope to the world. And he brings peace – with God, with each other, and within ourselves. Now, it is our privilege to prepare the way for his return. And we begin by preparing our hearts this Advent Season.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel “The Dead Peasants File” are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.