“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,”‘” (Mark 1:2-3)

The prelude to the ministry of Jesus was a messenger who would prepare God’s chosen people for His work of salvation: John the Baptist. His mission was to announce that the long-promised Messiah was about to appear and to prepare the people of Israel to meet Him. The people needed to repent and be baptized as a sign of their repentance for the Messiah was coming to judge sin and wickedness. Redemption would come in Jesus Himself who took upon Himself the judgment of God. All those who by faith accepted Christ’s sacrifice as their own would find mercy and eternal life. Yet that same sacrifice would fall as condemnation upon all those who rejected the Messenger, the message, and the Messiah.

Today the situation is the same although now the Messenger is not one person, but the Church of Jesus Christ. The Messiah is coming and judgment will fall upon and condemn those who reject the Messenger for they will also reject the message of the gospel and the Messiah. So as we approach the feast of Christmas, we the Church need to have our priorities straight. The thoughts of many will be on materialism, gifts, over-indulging on food and sweets, Santa Claus, toys, and children rather than on Jesus and why He came into the world. We Christians, however, are called to have our eyes on Jesus, the Savior of all mankind. As we celebrate His birth we are reminded not only that He is our redeemer and King but that we are called to preach His gospel of faith, repentance, and mercy to all.