Prepare the Way of the Lord
Open Your Bible
Luke 1:57-80, John 1:19-23
Pregnancy is wonderful, but at times, it can also be fairly miserable, which is how I feel toward the end of my pregnancies. If you’ve ever found yourself in those shoes, then you know how uncomfortable it can be. Everything hurts, and it’s nearly impossible to bend over. As I grew, so did the wave of hormones, which made me want to withdraw from friends and family, to the point where my primary method of communication with many people became texts that utilized either “the rage face” emoji or gifs of very overweight cats. With my last pregnancy, I distinctly remember leaving my doctor’s office in tears, hysterical and frustrated because, at 38.5 weeks, I WAS STILL PREGNANT. I’d never felt more impatient, anxiously awaiting the sweet relief of birth—and, of course, meeting our new baby.
And so, when I read about Elizabeth and Zechariah, and the birth of their son, I feel every wave of their words and emotions. I know my own anticipation must have been nothing compared to that of the barren Elizabeth and the mute Zechariah. I am humbled by their story. During pregnancy, I wrestled with my own selfishness every day, shame filling my anxious heart, because I knew there were so many who would give anything to be in my position. I imagine it’s a longing Elizabeth might’ve felt, too, in the years leading up to her own pregnancy and the birth of her son.
Advent is our waiting season.
Maybe you’re waiting for a baby to be conceived or born, or for an older child to come home. Maybe you’re waiting for healing or love, for reconciliation or freedom. If we’re honest, we’re all waiting for something. And collectively, whether we know it or not, we’re waiting for Jesus to come again, longing for the wrongs of this world to be made right. We live an everyday Advent, waiting for the final, triumphant return of our King.
Zechariah sings the song of an Advent people. He sings of the Lord’s steadfast faithfulness, and he knows it to be true. He blesses the Lord, remembering the Old Testament covenants that had brought the Jews to this point, recounting the promises God made to Abraham, to David, and to His people. For centuries upon centuries, the people of God had waited for the Messiah. They knew what it was to wait.
After the birth of his son, who would be known as John the Baptist, Zechariah prophesies over his baby with a prayer I’ve adapted for my own children:
“And you, child, will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the dawn from on high will visit us
to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:76–79).
Could that be our cry, our prayer, and our calling too? Just as John the Baptist would prepare the way for the incarnate Christ, we ought to adopt his mission as our own, harkening to the day when our Jesus will come again, giving knowledge of His salvation to those who don’t yet know Him. In so doing, we await His return with purpose, spreading the good news of our precious Savior to all who will hear.
Elizabeth waited. The Jewish people waited. And we wait too. But we know our King is coming, just as we’re sure of the coming sunrise, to give light to those who sit in darkness, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.