ADVENT- DAY 8 - Pointing to Christ
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Where there is no fear, in like manner there is no amendment; where there is no amendment, repentance is of necessity vain, for it lacks the fruit for which God sowed it; that is, man’s salvation.
Have you ever looked at an ancient icon or historic Christian painting and struggled to tell what’s going on? If so, you’re in good company! While appreciating the beauty and reverence of these timeless works, the modern viewer is often left in the dark, unclear on who and what is depicted, and by
extension, how to properly engage and appreciate such artwork. However, there is one figure that can always be easily identified: John the Baptist. How, you may ask? By his finger.
Though commonly remembered for his unique diet and dramatic dress, John the Baptist’s finger is in many ways his most defining feature, for with it he fulfills his primary role in the story of salvation. John points us to Christ, showing us where to go when we are disoriented. He helps us look afresh to Christ when we are confused and cannot see a way forward. In short, he reminds us, often with great passion and urgency, where our focus is meant to be.
In this second week of Advent, we focus on the themes of preparation and repentance. As Isaiah 40:3 reminds us, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” In the busyness of this holiday season, your focus is likely scattered and pulled in a dozen different directions. Yet into this noise, each year Christians are invited again to tune their hearts to the ancient words of the prophet who proclaimed “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mk. 1:4).
Our Lord is coming. May he find us ready and waiting.
Lifting our elections up to the Lord helps all of us keep the focus on the most important topics as well as softens our hearts to love everyone, even those with whom we may disagree. Believing differently shouldn't stop us from sharing God's love and His Word with others.
“By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson