John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
Reflection by Lynne Buell
I am particularly partial to the last verse of this scripture because I am well aware of what a joy life is when being led by the Holy Spirit. What a blessed journey it has been.
John the Baptist draws the people from the Judean countryside, as well as Jerusalem, for baptism of repentance and forgiveness, and he is also preparing them for the coming of the Messiah. He respectfully downplays his role in this scenario and calls attention to the significant way Jesus, the Son of God, will be empowered by God’s Spirit and how this will affect their lives as his followers.
I was not experiencing the joy of the beginning of Advent a week ago. Something happened to me the other day that brought me that feeling of hope and excitement that I desperately need this year. It does not matter that I will not be entertaining or attending holiday gatherings. This year by putting up my tree and placing my pretty Christmas decorations around my home will be for ‘me.’ To feel the warmth of the fire in the fireplace and being surrounded by the holiday reminders of Christmases past give me that feeling of hope and encouragement that I need to embrace each day as one to be thankful for.
Loving God, I cherish this time so that I can reflect on all the good that You have provided. My prayer is that this feeling will embrace all folks who are having difficulties in their lives so that they, too, will find the true joyfulness of the Season. Amen.