The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.
Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.
The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him
I like to listen to conversion stories of new Christians. There is a factor that is common in all of the stories – a family, friend or random stranger who in some way served as the point of contact between the non-believer and Christ. The action can be as simple as passing a book about Christ to a friend, or offering to accompany him/her for RCIA or mass. God can work in marvellous ways, when we allow ourselves to be His instruments.
John the Baptist was clearly someone special, a gift from God to herald the coming of Christ. He is described as having a huge following, and for most people this kind of attention will cause them to become very full of themselves. But John was so aware of His own mission and purpose that He never stopped telling his own followers to look to Jesus instead. He is honoured as the last of the prophets of the Old Testament, and the first of the saints of the New Testament.
As Christians, our actions and behaviour are what non-believers look at in order to understand what the religion is about. Sadly though, our sins often turn others away from Christianity. I believe that if we are more conscious of our Christian mission as king, priest and prophet, we would be in a better position to evangelise others.
This Christmas, what are you doing to point others to Jesus?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for the grace of the Spirit to guide us to embrace our calling and mission as Christians.
Thanksgiving: Let us think of one person who showed the love of Christ to us, and thank the Lord for him/her.