Malachi 3:1 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
If you know anything about farming, you can't just stick seed in the ground and expect it to produce the quality of crop that you will be happy with. You have to spend time in preparation, making sure all the elements are in place before you go to plant your crop; the preparation is most important to insure that the crop will grow in the right way, and survive everything that will be thrown at it during the time it is growing.
The same thing was important with God's plan to bring salvation to His people. He intentionally prepared the "ground" over the centuries before the birth of Christ to make sure it would be the right time for His plan and His message to be heard by all peoples. At this time, Rome had conquered much of the known world surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and beyond, building the infrastructure for roads and cities, allowing easy access from one end of the empire to the other. Into this fertile environment He brought His messenger John the Baptist, that would prepare the way for "the coming" of the Lord, and the news of his coming and his message would spread throughout the world.
The Christmas Season does the same thing today. It creates a fertile "ground" in the hearts of men in which to plant the seed of God's living Word, and through the watering of the Holy Spirit, allow faith in our Savior Jesus Christ to take root and grow. If there are those around you who do not know or have not accepted the sacrifice of Jesus on their behalf, now is the time to guide them to the manger, and point them to the birth of the One who will set all things right once again in their lives.
Luke 1:57-58;65-80 (New Living Translation)
57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.
65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.
67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, 70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. 72 He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant—73 the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.
76 “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.
Follow me on my Advent journey as I travel the path that God has prepared for us back to Himself. Follow the path of "the coming" of our Lord and Savior Jesus.