Christmas is that time of year when expectations run high. Children are exited about the toys and gifts they may be receiving. Parents are excited about who is coming to visit, and many people are expecting a better year next year at year’s end. The people of the bible were living with expectations of a Messiah who came on that first Christmas Morning. This Messiah had been foretold in the stories of the Prophets which every Jewish person in Palestine knew. The Messiah would come to restore the good fortunes of Jacob, forgive the sins of the people, speak peace to those who turned their hearts to him, and bring salvation near to the faithful. This arrival would then be considered Great News indeed! But for Mark, in the writing of his gospel, he saw another event as the start of the good news. The birth and ministry of John the Baptist marked the point that the good news began. For John’s arrival into the wilderness of Judea fulfilled the promises found in Isaiah’s writings some 500 years before. This voice crying out in the wilderness would announce the coming expected arrival of Messiah, the deliverer. John would make ready the pathway for the Messiah to come and that’s exactly what he did. Calling the people forward to repent and turn to God, John set the stage of the ministry of the Messiah Jesus. When an important person was arriving in a town, they sent a messenger ahead to announce the coming. John was just that messenger. The celebration of the second week of Advent marks the expectations of Messiah and the ministry of the one who would make ready the pathway for his arrival.