John the Baptist is today’s topic. His symbol is the seashell, and we know him as the predecessor of Christ. Born shortly before Jesus, it was recorded that his mother, Elizabeth felt him leap for joy while yet unborn when hearing the sound of Mary’s greeting.
Though his calling as a prophet was to warn people to repent of their sin, we see the source of his joy was in the coming of the Savior. As a forerunner of the deliverer that was promised through centuries, we might think of him as an emcee or announcer. His purpose was to introduce Jesus and get people ready to receive him.
But because of the different way that God works, it wasn’t in loud fanfare and proclamation in the streets. Much earlier in time God had declared,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
Thankful for Another’s Success
It is one thing to count your own blessings, and to be grateful for your own success, but can be a challenge to be equally happy for another’s.
John the Baptist found himself in that role, and viewed it as his calling.
this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Those who are happy for the success of others are people who realize that they, and many other benefit from each fulfilling their potential as fully as possible. Let us experience joy with those around us, by rejoicing with them.
As his name says, John used the ritual of baptism to signify a person’s intention to repent of their sin and return to the Lord. The seashell had long stood for this ritual immersion in water.
Today you can make an easy set of Christmas ornaments, or just one for a Jesse tree. Most craft stores have scallop shells for sale, simply tie a gold cord around the neck and hang on the tree. It can be prettied with glue and sprinklings of glitter, or spray paint in a metallic color.