Nov. 29, 2021
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
12And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Looking back and looking forward. John the Baptist is speaking to a mixed group of people at any given time; not just Jews but to Romans and Greeks and any other of the many nationalities in the areas in which he preached and baptized. He preaches repentance of sin and uses a practice of ‘washing in water’ that the Jews already practiced and expands their understanding to look for the One greater than he.
John is preparing the way of Lord and, like in Lent, having his audience – and us – look to our souls, our sins, our relationship with God. We do much the same in Advent – we prepare a room for Him. Not in a stable but in our hearts. In Advent, we are getting ready to receive the greatest gift mankind has ever known and we must make preparations. It should be a time of fasting, prayer, self-examination. As Lent brings us to glorious Easter, Advent’s quiet reflection brings us to the wonder and joy of Christmas.