As we continue the Christmas story, an interesting development occurs:
14 [John the Baptist] will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord…. he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will…turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The angel tells Zechariah that his baby will lead people to Christ. Wow – isn’t that a wonderful thing to be known by? I can’t imagine knowing what the future holds for my child, but to know (as Zechariah did) that your baby will grow up to be obedient to the Lord and to lead others to Christ has to be a comforting feeling.
Within this passage we are also told that people are “made ready for the Lord” through gaining wisdom. People aren’t naturally prepared to meet their maker. We don’t possess the kind of knowledge that we need when we are born to properly be obedient. In fact, many would say that we are born with an innately evil sense. Experts believe that humans are selfish without being taught this trait. Therefore, we need to prepare our hearts and minds for a different way of thinking. We must avoid sin and selfish behavior and become righteous.
Jesus was the only sinless human to live on earth and gave us a perfect example by which to follow. I know we can’t be perfect in all things, but this reminds me of an old anecdote. “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: “one bite at a time!”
My challenge to each of us today is to find one thing to improve in our lives to make us more Christ-like. Once we accomplish this improvement in our life we can take another bite. What will you do differently today for God? By doing this we can start preparing ourselves for the Lord.