And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

     Dear Father, I often forget about the other special baby promised and delivered in the Advent story… John the Baptist—the forerunner, the way-maker, the prophet of the Most High, the locust-eating, camel hair-wearing friend of the Bridegroom… whose joy was his own decrease that Jesus would increase. John’s birth and life are a magnificent testimony to the ways the gospel.

     I’m also drawn this morning to his father, Zechariah. Though you muted him for a season because of his unbelief, what a great song of faith and vision he sang the next time you loosed his heart and tongue. O, to be a parent like Zechariah… only wanting what You want for our children and grandchildren.

     There only needed to be one John the Baptist, but there’s an ongoing need for many others to live and love as John the Baptist did. What better story could we write… what other story would we choose for our children than for them to be a means by which Jesus would be made known to their generation and culture?  

     Father, we lift our children and grandchildren to you. For the ones who don’t know you yet, we ask you to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus… soon. Make the gospel patently clear and irresistibly beautiful to them. Rescue them from religion and non-religion. We stand on your covenant promises for our kids. Reveal Jesus in the most secret place of their hearts.

    For our kids who know you, we pray that the gospel will go deeper and deeper into their hearts—assuring them of your tender mercies and sufficient grace… transforming them into the likeness of Jesus… freeing them for a life of loving and serving, in your church and kingdom.

     Lord Jesus, we pray for ourselves the very same prayers we offer on behalf of our children and grandchildren. During this very Advent season, open our hearts and loose our tongues to sing your praises with fresh joy and delight. Guide our hearts into ways of the gospel… guide our feet more surely onto the path of peace… lead us deeper into a lifestyle of shalom—into your commitment to redeem your people from the nations and make all things new. What better story could we write for ourselves? What other story would we choose? So very Amen, we pray, in your gracious and exalted name.