“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1 ESV)
How did John the Baptist prepare the way for Jesus to come? I believe there were three ways in which John prepared the way for Christ:
1. He taught a message of repentance. When he preached he called the people to repent of their sins. If we are to ready our hearts or our homes for Christ, we must first repent of our sins.
2. He pointed people toward Christ, not himself. He could have easily been interested in building his own kingdom here, his own “ministry” or business. Though he did have his own disciples, he pointed people to the Messiah. Likewise, we can help prepare the way for Christmas by pointing people to Christ! We can make Christmas about so many other things, when He is the real reason that we celebrate.
3. He had an attitude of humility. John would so esteem Jesus that he would be quoted as saying, “the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16 ESV). The ancient practice of footwashing was performed by the lowest servant of member of the host family. John was in essence saying that he wasn’t even worthy enough to be the lowest servant of Jesus. In a world filled with arrogance, hubris, and pride, a healthy dose of humility is what sets our Savior apart. We can truly prepare for Christmas this year when we recognize that He is God and we are not. When we put Christ in the proper place in our lives–first, where He belongs, we will be ready and prepared to celebrate Christmas this year.
Though I hope that you go all-out this year, with decorations, presents, parties, and food. I hope that while you are spending the next few weeks preparing for Christmas that you will take a moment and make sure that spiritually you are ready to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords.