This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… (Matthew 6:9-10)
We spend Advent and the Christmas season preparing ourselves for Christ’s coming. But now that He is here what do we do? The time of preparation and celebration has ended; all the decorations are boxed up. Time to get back to the routine, right?
Throughout Advent and Christmas there are two people in the Bible that did not return to the regular routine. Because of their choices we now have the chance to create a little heaven on earth by becoming Christ’s ambassadors.
Mary replied to God’s call, “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 3:30) Before and after Jesus’s birth, Mary didn’t get cleaned up and go back to her life in Nazareth. Instead she raised that infant to manhood, and stood by Him as He traveled an unpopular path. Even watched Him be crucified and later rise triumphantly from the dead. Still with Him even when He ascended gloriously to be with His Father, she continued to be His most ardent supporter.
When confronted with the new ministry of Jesus, John the Baptist responded, “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) John had a pretty good thing going. In spite of leading a life on the fringes and some considered him to be trouble, John the Baptist had many followers who embraced his message of repentance. Yet when Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, came on the scene he not only realized who stood before him, but also willingly stepped aside.
Both Mary and John sacrificed their selfish selves for the glory of God the Father. Both chose a life in service to Jesus. Because of their choice life was not easy for either of them. They journeyed the unpopular, less traveled path. John was even beheaded so Jesus could fulfill His mission. They provide the example for us to follow in our own lives.
John and Mary are a pretty tough act to follow; that they were specially blessed from birth for the mission from God.
But there were twelve disciples who weren’t so specially marked, twelve ordinary men just like you and me. Maybe it was easier for them to give up their lives and follow Jesus: didn’t they already had a rigorous prayer life and were used to the strictures that following Him put on their lives? I would have to disagree. Their times were no easier or harder than ours, just different.
We all have our obstacles, any number of excuses, but when it comes right down to it, we can follow the example of Mary, John, and the apostles.
Our path may not be easy; although I am pretty sure for most of us it will be easier than John’s and Mary’s. Through our baptism we were made ambassadors for Christ. We are to be like John and Mary in that we sacrifice our selfish selves to bring a little bit of heaven to earth, into our daily lives and the lives of those around us.
You don’t have to live in the desert like John. You probably won’t have to become pregnant before you are married in defiance of all the laws of the times. You can be an ambassador from your homes, your schools, your churches. Follow God and He will lead. Praise Him, pray to Him. Ask and He will give you the necessary tools to supplement the ones He has already given you.
Don’t stop the celebration just because the holiday is past. Celebrate Jesus Christ; love your neighbor; stand up for what is right and just in God’s eyes; help the poor and displaced; pray and praise God. Bring heaven to earth and be God’s ambassador to the world.
Copyright © 2014, Christina Weigand