Tuesday, 11 December 2007

prophets of Christmas

When you think of prophets at Christmastime, you likely remember those Old Testament sages, like Isaiah and Malachi, who foretold the birth of Christ hundreds of years before the angel's appearance to Mary. The prophecies are true! It is a miracle, we say, and rightly so. But the birth story has its own prophets, people who recognize and bear and declare the Word of the Lord to others. They are miraculous in their time, for they are women. Before John the Baptist prepares the way in the wilderness, his mother Elizabeth is the first to call Jesus Lord. Before the shepherds run to spread the good news in the towns, Mary gives a magnificent oracle of prophetic praise. Before Jesus preaches in Jerusalem, the old prophetess Anna tells all who are looking for Jerusalem's redemption that the Redeemer is here.

Luke gives us the names and stories of these unlikely prophets in his gospel. They are among the first to participate in the Spirit's work surrounding Christ. They are among the first to tell us who this Child is, and why He has come. They speak into the future, to all who open their hearts to the advent of Christ saying "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word."

In the days leading up to Christmas, I plan to post glimpses of each of their stories. In all the noise and busyness of our Decembers, may we hear and receive again God's word to us in Christ.

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