The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. And, what better way to kick-off the Advent Season than with a country character dressed in camel’s hair and a belt who’s yelling at folks and eating bugs dipped in honey?! Let’s be honest here. If John the Baptist showed-up on our front doorsteps, preaching about repenting and offering to Baptize us via a water-bottle on the spot, we probably wouldn’t answer the door (possibly calling the police, as well) or we’d at least ask him to get off of our porch!? But, as always, the Advent-ure of Jesus’ Story almost has to start this way – with a guy like John the Baptist rallying people at a country river… It’s easy to picture and remember a guy like John… For most people who hear this Gospel, they won’t easily-forget what this guy looked like and what he said and did. And, that’s the point – to remember. As we continue on through this Advent-ure together, let’s be sure to really enjoy the entire Advent Season as we march into Bethlehem with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Magi, the Shepherds, and the Heavenly Hosts! For the Miracle of Advent ahead of us is just under the Star!