You might say he was a bit odd-even if he was Jesus' cousin. In fact, to tell the truth, he was an embarrassment to the religious folks of his day. He was downright weird. The wilderness was indeed an appropriate place for this wild man with wild hair, strange clothes, a peculiar diet, and a message that just seemed to come from another planet. John the Baptist just made people uncomfortable-including us today. But in all the liturgical calendars, his message is one that gets traction every year during the second week of Advent. And his message is not, "Shop." Rather it is the counter-cultural message, "Repent."
When the church stops repenting and preaching repentance, the meaning of Advent is lost. So get ready. Don't be complacent. Turn from that which is not of God, and turn to the One who is the source of life. Hear the voice of the one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord...Make his paths straight...Bear fruit worthy of repentance...Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none...And whoever has food must do likewise...Collect no more than the amounted prescribed for you...Do not extort money from anyone...Be satisfied..." (Luke 3:4-14 abridged) Get ready. Jesus is coming!
Prayer for Today
O Holy One, we pray this day that we would remember that we have been baptized not only with water, but with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Therefore as we approach Christmas, may we bear fruit worthy of repentance. Amen.