Today my windshield is frosted white with feathery finesse. The grass and trees have been powder sugared, and the damp air has an unmistakable edge. Jack Frost passed through last night, leaving his frosty fingerprints on everything he touched. I’m not sure what kept him this year. Maybe he was vacationing in the Yukon! Whatever the case, he arrived later than usual.
Jack Frost is Old Man Winter’s herald. He carries the proclamation of coming cold. Since Jack’s been hanging around for some time no, it means Old Man Winter is in no great hurry to get here. He must be meandering down from Canada at a leisurely pace.
By the way, that’s a good thing. The shorter winter is a blessing. It did, however, confuse some of the flowers. The violets bloomed again, thinking spring had come back around. And our bearded iris set the loveliest pale yellow blossoms last week. Very odd indeed!
By 10:00am, liquid frost drips from the barn’s metal roof like a steady rain. The silver sheets creak and crackle as they expand in the sun’s warmth. We spend a few hours doing our final yard clean-up; putting away the grill and lawn furniture, picking up stray branches and garbage snippets, and mowing the grass one last time. The Old Man may not be in a hurry, but he’ll be here soon enough! We want to be ready.
Long before Jesus came to earth, forerunners were sent to herald His arrival. God warned the serpent in the Garden of Eden that the Son of Man would bruise his head (Genesis 3:15). He promised Abraham that through him all the nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Jacob’s blessing in Genesis 49 reveals the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah. And Balaam’s prophecy in Leviticus 24 foretells the coming Messiah, descended from Jacob.
From that time on, many Old Testament prophets and priests, through God’s inspiration, spoke prophetic words pointing to the Messiah who would one day come. David, in Psalm 22, gives detailed information about Christ’s crucifixion. The Psalms also prophesy Christ’s ascension and resurrection. Jeremiah proclaims the Messiah will be a descendent of David (23:5-6). Isaiah predicts His virgin birth (7:14) and in Isaiah 53, this prophet gives insights into the character, physical appearance, suffering, death, and burial of Jesus. Daniel set the timeframe for Jesus’ birth (9:25). Hosea told about their flight to Egypt when Jesus was very young (11:1). Micah said He would be born in Bethlehem (5:2). Amos foretold the darkness falling over the land when Christ was hung on the cross (8:9). And Zechariah describes the Triumphal Entry. (9:9).
The final Old Testament prophet, Malachi, tells of the Messiah’s forerunner… John the Baptist. (Malachi 3:1) John the Baptist spent his brief life leaving this mark and message behind, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” Jesus would soon appear on the public scene. John the Baptist wanted to people to be ready. He was preaching about Jesus and baptizing those who were committed to following the coming Messiah. When Jesus came to John in the wilderness, John himself was ready. He proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Two more heralds will one day be sent. The Two Witnesses, in Revelation 11, will stand at the temple dressed in sackcloth and ashes and prophesy. It’s unclear exactly what they’ll be saying, but I imagine they’ll be proclaiming the final return and reign of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords… warning people to “prepare the way of the Lord.”