Thus far in this message I have been talking about the preparation by John the Baptist for the coming of Jesus Christ. I have made a few helpful applications along the way. But I am sure you know that the important thing right now is not how John the Baptist prepared people for Jesus’ coming or even what you can learn from that incidentally, but rather how you can prepare yourself spiritually this Christmas. How are you to do this? Let me suggest three important things.
First, if you are not yet a Christian, the only reasonable and wise way to prepare for Christmas is by becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, that is, a follower of him whose birth we are remembering. That is exactly what John wanted his followers to do. You will recall that after he had pointed to Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” two of his followers left John and followed Jesus. John did not try to stop them. That is what he wanted them to do. In fact, when some of his disciples complained later that many were beginning to desert him for Jesus, John replied, “I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:28-30).
John wanted his disciples to follow Jesus Christ, and that is what true followers of Jesus want other people to do too. If you are not a Christian yet, we urge you, “Follow Jesus.” Turn from your sin and trust Jesus Christ, the unique and only Son of God, as your Savior. He came to be your Savior. He died on the cross to take away your sin. Believe it. Trust him. That is the first thing getting ready for Christmas is about.
Second, if you already are a Christian, you can prepare for Christmas by renewing your commitment to Jesus. Have the concerns of this world drawn you away from him who used to be your first love? Are you more concerned with the world’s acclaim than you are with his approval? If so, confess that to Jesus and allow these next days to be blessed ones in which he draws you back to the joy of that first love you once had with him.
Finally, tell others about Jesus. You ought to be doing that at all times, but it is especially right for you to be doing it at Christmas. That is what John did, and why he is remembered. Can’t you tell someone about Jesus Christ this Christmas? You must know people who need to hear what his coming to earth was all about. What a sad thing it would be to make all your other preparations for Christmas but leave him out of it.