We’re getting ready to celebrate Christmas. You have a program coming up, and only a couple more days of school after that. Then it will be time to party. Most importantly, it will be time to celebrate The Savior’s Birth.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, St. John the Baptist steps in to halt us in our tracks. He did not like parties. He even got killed at one. His job is to tell us to repent, to turn our hearts from bad to good, to change our ways, to be sorry for the bad we’ve done and the good we haven’t done, to desire to do good purely to please God and serve others.
That’s big work for us. We can’t turn ourselves around. Our hearts are like a really cold winter day – iced over with sin and death. You can’t get in there and scrape off that ice either, nor can you melt it away; it’s too thick. That’s our sins.
But John came to prepare the people for The Lord. How could he do that if their hearts were just as icy as yours? He couldn’t do it on his own. He preached God’s Word to them. That’s what caused people to repent. That’s what caused them to look to The Lamb of God to be saved from their sins.
God’s Word is preached to you. It works. It tells you you’ve sinned and you deserve to be punished. This message makes you sorry for your sins. It tells you that Jesus was born to be punished for you on His Cross. This message makes you believe it and trust it. It melts the ice of sin off of you and scrapes you clean.
When you are free of sin, you are prepared for The Lord. He hates sin. But He loves those whose sins are forgiven. He was born to forgive us. He was born to save us. He was born to come to us and be our Immanuel, “God with us,” forever. Merry Christmas!