And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God…. Luke 1:16
I was sitting in my office at Christ Lutheran Church in White Cloud, Michigan.
I was working on my computer, preparing for my very first funeral as a pastor. It was the middle of September and it was warm and rainy.
Nancy came in to my office a little after lunch and said she had something to tell me.
She sat down next to me and told me I was going to be a father! She was going to have our first baby!
Now, I must have seen It’s a Wonderful Life too many times because I said the same thing George Baily says when Mary tells him he’s going to be a father for the first time.
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
There was no way to tell at six weeks, of course. But I was so excited!
We decided that we would not find out if it was a boy or a girl until the actual birth, so we kind of planned for the new baby, but couldn’t fully plan not knowing if it was a boy or a girl.
Twenty-one years later, I look back on that time and realize what a journey we started that day.
Eddie would be joined three years later by Kurt and another 13 months later by Mark.
We would move from Michigan to Wisconsin, to California and then to Illinois.
Nancy would teach in three different schools and I served in four different churches.
All three boys loved baseball and played baseball – with Eddie and Mark continuing to play to this day.
As of yet we still don’t know what the future holds for our three sons – Eddie and Mark are hoping it will be professional baseball. Kurt would like to do something with hockey (commentating or writing about it).
We do know that the future is God’s hands and it will be an incredible journey.
When Zechariah found out he was going to be a father that was also the start of an incredible journey.
The last steps of a journey that started thousands of years previous.
For Zechariah’s son would be named John. He would baptize people, culminating in the baptism of his cousin Jesus of Nazareth who himself would then begin a journey that would take him to a cross to die for the sins of all people of all time.
John’s journey was entwined with Jesus’ journey and one of the results would be that many of the children of Israel would be turn to the LORD God.
That’s what the Advent and Christmas seasons are all about. Turning – or having our hearts turned – back to God.
It is a journey of discovery that leads us to realize that God became one of us to save us. It is a journey of salvation that begins with a simple announcement of a baby to be born.
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