Day 23

Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:57-80, 1 Samuel 2:1-2

In my life, there have been two days on the calendar that were almost unbearable to get through. The first was the day before my wedding. I was so anxious and excited I could hardly stand the day taking all of its allotted twenty-four hours. I was ready and couldn’t wait any longer to pledge my vows to Stephanie. The second occurs every year: Christmas Eve. As a child, it was the never-ending day before the day. My family was strict, with a no-Christmas-presents-on-Christmas-Eve policy, and so everything was saved for the next day. And while the pastor claimed his Christmas Eve service was only an hour, I am confident it was at least three or four times that.

Even though Christmas Eve seemed to go on and on, it always accomplished its designated purpose; it made me ready. As a boy, I would feel the anticipation and excitement grow. As an adult, I am focused on being ready for my family to have a meaningful day of celebration and worship. The focus is never on Christmas Eve itself. It’s all about Christmas Day. If Christmas Eve were a person, his name would be John the Baptist.

The story of Jesus’s birth in Luke’s Gospel doesn’t vault us right into Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph. Luke introduces us to another family, relatives of Jesus who are advanced in years, without hope for children of their own. But then God breaks through. Suddenly, through the proclamation of a child to come there is wonder, anticipation, and preparation for the fulfillment of God’s promise. But this child isn’t the One. He, like Christmas Eve, is all about pointing us to the greater One.

John’s father, Zechariah, worshipped the Lord at the birth of his son. He declared how his son, John, would point and prepare the way for God’s Son, Jesus. The story of John the Baptist’s birth is full of people who are desperate for hope, longing for God’s salvation, looking to the horizon for a light “to shine on those who live in darkness” (Luke 1:79). John’s birth made them all the more anxious, all the more focused on the One to come.

As we wait for Christmas Day, let us do so as people who have seen the light Zechariah sang about. Let us renew our faith and hope in Jesus, and let us praise God that Jesus is coming again to put an end to darkness, once and for all. Today, we prepare for His return.

Written by Jeremy Writebol

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2 thoughts on "Birth of John the Baptist"

  1. Justin Harger says:

    Darkness and light. Our world is filled with both, but darkness cannot penetrate light. Light can pierce through the deepest dark though. In an instant, light can wipe away all the dark and with a flip of a switch no less.

    Today, Christmas Eve, the lights have been hung, the table set, the trees are up, and presents are ready. But however you celebrate, and wherever you are, the switch was already flipped – so many years ago. The light of the world came to rid our lives of darkness. Open your heart and let the light in. If you feel alone for even just one moment today, reach out. Reach out to Him who came for you. The simplest prayers are usually the best like “Jesus, I need you, right now” I’m praying all of your darkness is pierced by His light today.

  2. Kevin says:

    Day 23: How crazy the power in Johns name? Something no one in his family shared with him. His father Zachariah was mute because he doubted God telling him his wife would be pregnant but then he comes and can speak again! Crazy! I also love that the commentator points out that John the Baptist would be Christmas Eve if it was a day. So cool. ⚒

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