Scripture for today
Our Symbol for today is a scallop shell, which was a traditional symbol of baptism.
Today we remember John the Baptist, the promised messenger. The prophet Malachi had foretold that Elijah would come to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children before the day of reckoning. And here, in the angel’s message to Zechariah, those same words are used. Later, Jesus is to express the idea to his disciples: that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah, “Matthew 11:14 “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”
As a prophet he warned his people of repentance,calling out for hearts to turn back to God. To be aware of the offer given, sometimes a promise needs a message delivered to create receptivity. How can we receive a promise, believe that it will be fulfilled, if we overlook the importance of it?
Zechariah was a good example of that. He and his wife had prayed a long time for a child, and had probably resigned to never having that hope fulfilled. Suddenly, an angel tells hims not only that he will have this child, but that the destiny of his son will fulfill many people’s prayers. Every year, at Passover, observant Jews consciously symbolize the expectation of Elijah’s appearing. But Zechariah was not prepared to believe; he was a priest, but he wasn’t prepared to believe that God would answer his prayers and those of his people.
How many opportunities in life are lost and wasted because we were not prepared to believe they were for us? Will we be those with “eyes to see and ears to hear”? It isn’t the physical disability that handicaps us, it is the spiritual. But the Christmas story reminds us that God graciously sees our infirmities and we know that John the Baptist was born, that His father was able to speak with faith and name him as the angel said, and that in spite of barriers, unbelief, and selfish ambitions, God was well able to bring his promises to pass.
Preparing the way of the Lord, in the spirit of Elijah, is something like rolling out cooky dough. In order to bake the cookies so that they are soft and tender and good to eat we must apply pressure and make the dough very smooth and flat. We roll them until they are no longer uneven, but not so long that we toughen them. Let us allow the pressure of the message to awaken us and give heed to God’s promises, to make our own hearts tender. Allow God to make something good from your life.
The Spirit and Power of Elijah is also to bear witness to the Light. That we might not overlook it when it seems obscure and hidden from view; so that we can have hearts made ready to go forward with the promises given us. What was promised in the coming of Christ? What gifts are yours by faith in His life, death, and resurrection? What message do you bear, what is the destiny of your future? Have you considered these things? More about John, and making a “Promise Jar”.
Make some Sea Shell cookies
Little Drummer Boy
Watchman, tell us of the night,
What its signs of promise are.
Traveler, oâ€™er yon mountainâ€™s height,
See that glory beaming star.
Watchman, does its beauteous ray
Aught of joy or hope foretell?
Traveler, yesâ€”it brings the day,
Promised day of Israel.
Watchman, tell us of the night;
Higher yet that star ascends.
Traveler, blessedness and light,
Peace and truth its course portends.
Watchman, will its beams alone
Gild the spot that gave them birth?
Traveler, ages are its own;
See, it bursts oâ€™er all the earth.
Watchman, tell us of the night,
For the morning seems to dawn.
Traveler, darkness takes its flight,
Doubt and terror are withdrawn.
Watchman, let thy wanderings cease;
Hie thee to thy quiet home.
Traveler, lo! the Prince of Peace,
Lo! the Son of God is come!