When we think of the Christmas story we tend to think of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. We may throw in a couple shepherds and three wise men. But how many of us think of John the Baptist as part of the Christmas story? We know that John the Baptist says repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but what does that have to do with the Christmas story?
Luke 1:5-17 “In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years. When his division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, it happened that he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified and overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.””
John prepared the way for Jesus and God made away for John the Baptist. There are some interesting things to note in this passage of Scripture, one, Elizabeth was unable to conceive. Mary conceived as a virgin and Elizabeth conceived as an old woman. Just stop and think about the miracles here for a moment. The Christmas story is full of miracles; from these two births, the star, the census, the warning dreams, our God is amazing.
There is nothing normal about the Christmas story because it is the greatest event in all of human history and God wants to get our attention and when God wants your attention, He gets it! Stop and think about all the supernatural events in the Bible. There were not an abundance of them but when God needed to make a point, He could do it in a big way. He doesn’t need to do that anymore, He got the worlds attention through the giving of His son and we have the written word of God that contains all the signs we need. Take some time to thank God for His goodness throughout history and in your own life.
One last thing about having this passage, John the Baptists father was a priest, yet John was in the wilderness. John should have been a priest but God had greater plans for him. Plans so great that Jesus said he was the greatest prophet of all time. Why was he the greatest prophet? Because he was the last prophet. Jesus is here and in the last days God speaks by His son.
When we stop and think about the different aspects of the Christmas story we begin to see just how amazing it is. Have a great day today and rejoice in the marvelous works of our God.