Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/MLEesR-SDXw/advent-devotional-dec-10.html
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert
of Judea announcing, 2 “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the
kingdom of heaven!” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke
when he said:
The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.”[a]
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a
leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all
around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins,
he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees
came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who
warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming
soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and
lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is
our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from
these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees.
Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and
tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have
changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than
I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from
the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the
wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put
Nothing warms the heart more this Advent season then a
little a fire and brimstone. Forget the
yule log, this type of rhetoric will keep you warm and cozy for a long
time. Joking aside, how many Christmas
cards do we see quoting John the Baptist’s rant against the religious
rulers? This was my first impression
until I realized how much I, a religious leader, need to pay attention.
In Luke’s gospel (last Sunday’s lectionary text), John the
Baptist goes on a similar rant but it isn’t associate to a certain group of
people. It was simply preached to the
crowd that showed up. But this one, in
Matthew’s gospel, is directed at the Pharisees and Sadducees; the religious
leaders of that time. So how do I, as a
clergy, deal with what John the Baptist preaches to me this Advent season?
I feel this is a call to action for us clergy this time of
year. Advent is always BUSY beyond
belief. There are all the holiday
parties, Christmas preparations, and all the other ‘stuff’ that comes with the
season. But do we priorities what we
should be concentrating on this time of year?
For me Advent is a time to do the best worship possible. Worship in a way that builds up to the
Christmas, not just celebrate it for a month at a time. If we do that, we will be better off and
truer to the nature of this time of year.
But reality can be different. I
can get focused on what “I” have to do that forget my job is to get people
ready for Jesus.
The holy seasons, Advent and Lent, are not about us, it is
about Jesus. We have to not focus on
ourselves and remind ourselves that we are supposed to be about God in
everything that we do. We cannot sit
back and rest on our laurels. Instead we
need to be active in the inbreaking of God’s kingdom in this world.