A significant event that took place right before the birth of Jesus Christ was the birth of his cousin, John the Baptist. The story is written about in the gospel of Luke, and it is interesting that John’s father Zechariah was given an overview of his son’s ministry before he was even conceived.
Although he provides many more specifics about John, the angel’s message concludes by telling Zechariah that John is going to, “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Not only is it significant that John fulfills the prophecy of Malachi about turning the hearts of children to their parents and vice versa, but it is also important to realize that the people of God were not prepared for God’s arrival. There had been 400 silent years of no divine revelation in the nation of Israel, and it would at least make sense to me if the people of God were not expecting the Messiah to appear on the doorstep at that moment.
Clearly, there were people who believe that the Messiah was going to come, but John’s purpose was to point out that the event was taking place right before their eyes. He was the forerunner.
That’s what it takes sometimes though. Sometimes we need something to come along and wake us up. John was going to do that for Jesus Christ because the people had grown complacent. They stopped expecting God to give his Messiah at any time. They needed someone there to point explicitly at Jesus which John eventually did when he baptized Jesus.
That’s the sad part though. First, it is sad because God does work in our lives every day. Most of the time, it seems like God’s activity becomes more clear in hindsight, but I wonder how much anxiety we could release by simply trusting that God does what He says He does.
Second, we don’t realize how great God actually is. Not only do we miss the activity in and of itself, but we also makes how great the activity actually is. For example, we might even admit that God did something or has the ability to be active in a given situation, but we don’t expect that what God is going to do will actually be good. It might just be average, or it might even be bad. We miss out on the character of God.
Maybe we need to actually wake up. Maybe we need to have someone like John come into our lives and remind us that God is still here and is still active. We don’t want to buy into the myth that God is somehow silent or has given up on us.
 Luke 1:17, NIV.