I've been thinking a lot about the waiting that comes with Advent. Waiting is imperative with the coming. Waiting says there is something better ahead...and, so, with the waiting there has to be hope. The two join hands and walk together towards the coming. Hope is that little flutter that keeps the waiting alive, and nudges my ability to press on. There are days it is hard to stay steadfast were it not for hope (especially over the holidays). We need to be reminded of hope: hope that with the coming there will, indeed, be change. So many feel stuck and hopeless during the holidays. Sometimes, it's almost impossible to sense that little flutter and keep going.
That's why we need fore-runners. That's why we need prophets. That's why the Israelites, after 400 years of heaven's silence, had to have a John-the-Baptist. Hope was at a premium. Few had any hope-remnants left considering the conditions under which they were living - socially, politically, economically, environmentally, emotionally (all were a struggle), but particularly, spiritually. So, God gave a fore-running miracle in the birth of a new-kind-of-prophet. John's job? Prepare the way for the coming. Turn hearts. Ready the souls. Bring hope.
If I am a follower of Jesus, John's job is mine, too. This Christmas season, I'm to find ways to do the same. Nothing declares the specialness of the season like a hope-bringer. This Advent, it's my desire to renew hope by being someone's fore-running miracle. I was born again for just such a Joy.