Saturday, December 17, 2011
Finally, he is gone. Most of us are glad. John the Baptist does not make a good first impression with all that talk about something being so wrong with us that only radical change will make any difference. And if we do keep him around awhile, we find ourselves growing weary of the smell of locust on his breath and the look of his beard matted with honey. For two Sundays now the writers of the lectionary have imposed his unwanted presence upon us, but enough is enough.
This fourth and last Sunday of the Advent season brings new characters into view. They are the ones we have been anticipating. At last we see Mary as she struggles with the good news, Joseph as he wrestles with his ego, Zachariah and Elizabeth as they deal with a surprising unplanned pregnancy, and the angel Gabriel flitting about on one mission and then another. It all gives to us the assurance that the Star will soon be seen over Bethlehem and that Shepherds and Wise Men will soon begin their journeys. This Sunday marks entrance into exciting time. It has been worth the wait.
So, use these days to bask in the glory of the story. This story of Jesus being born among us is truly a great story, full of human struggle and divine intervention. It is a story worth reading not once, but several times. Read it again...and again. Each day read it. Read it slowly. Read it aloud to slow yourself down. Let is soak into your soul again so that the much anticipated worship an celebration of this next weekend will indeed be like gushing streams of water in a hot and dry desert.