E-votional - Great Expectations
December 15 - 21, 2003


As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Luke 3:2-4 (NRSV)


   Commercials, I really do like them. I have had my fill with the ones selling widgets and gadgets, telling me I will be a more "in-tune person" if I have this or that. No, I like the commercials that announce and proclaims the coming or the arrival of an event. And there is an event that is just days away. This Wednesday is the premiere of the Lord of the Rings:Return of the King. So often there is letdown after a barrage of commercial time about a movie. The fear that the commercial captures the entirety of the movie is very real. Too often I have had high expectations for a movie based on the previews and commercials, only to be let down by the movie. Add to the equation the hype which can surround an event and you have something that resembles last year's Superbowl blowout. So the question is how can we sustain the energy of the announcement of an event through the end of the event, without disappointment? It depends on who is doing the announcing and who the players are.

   Hear the Good News, John the baptist announces the coming of the Christ and there is no letdown, everything promised is delivered. To this I have heard no good arguments to the contrary. Yet, somehow and some way the announcement is being lost. Yes, it is a painful statement, but I fear a truthful one. The Christ in Christmas is being fast forwarded, muted or down-right skipped. And the Mass in Christmas, long forgotten. Ten days to Christmas and the focus is material instead of spiritual. Ten days to Christmas, half-way through the season of Advent and many have a focus on everything else, other than the coming of Christ. This is where we find John the baptist. He is in the wilderness, calling people to listen to this powerful and profound announcement. It is time! He cries out into the wilderness, to all who would hear, a message of not-yet-but-all-most. But the hearers don't quite get it. They recognize the presence but do not embrace the life-changing-power, choosing to go on with what suites them best, what serves their needs and what inconveniences them the least. The expectation is now that they will have to hear it all, but will not have to do much with it. We are also at the same place. We live in a society which is now shaping the face of Christianity, or the perception of Christianity. Because most who call themselves Christian hear the message but do not embrace it or experience the life-changing-power of a Christ encounter. As people of faith, we are to be the strong announcers, those who proclaim a life-changing-power of an encounter with the risen Lord. This means we change, it means we are in the world, but not of the world. It means we share a sustained message throughout our lives, unto the very end, of who Christ is, what He has done and continues to do. We approach each day with Great Expectations, know we must successfully announce and proclaim, again. No Letdown. Commitment, not half-way, because half-way is half the other way.


   Gracious God, why You have come to me, I may never fully understand, but I do know one thing, my life has been changed because of You. Let me share this with others all of my days. And when I wrestle with my faith, strengthen me, I pray, help me to overcome all I must to do what you have called me to. Help us as a people to experience Your life-changing-power of the encounter with Christ in hopes that this world will be changed one person at a time. Finally, I thank You for all You have done in my life and all You will continue to do, for I come to You through Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior! Amen.


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