Read Matthew 3:1-12
Every year during the second week of Advent, Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptizer, returns complete with funny clothes, weird diet, crazy hair and his loud disregard for manners. He is the member of the family who we might wish would have his own table at Christmas dinner. He is the one who makes all the kids giggle, either that or he scares them half to death. Yet, as odd as this member of the family is, John the Baptizer is ours. He’s dedicated and his message is one we need to hear. He was wild in appearance and demeanor but he prepared countless people to receive Jesus when our Savior’s ministry began. He set up shop by the Jordan River and preached and prepared people to serve Jesus by baptizing them in the river. He didn’t care about appearances. He cared about getting the message of Jesus out for all to hear.
During the season of Advent, it’s good to remember the message of Jesus’ cousin. We are preparing to remember the birth of our Savior and what that means for the world. As we prepare, it is appropriate to remember that we are baptized by the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. John didn’t take his ministry lightly. He went into the world and told any who would listen that the world was about to change forever because of the one who was coming. We are baptized into that same ministry. We may not wear camel’s hair, eat bugs, and we might take the time to fix our hair. Yet, in our baptisms we are given the power of the Holy Spirit, and we should feel the power of God’s fire within us to tell the world that one is born among us who changed the world for the better forever. We should feel the power of God to live a better life and to tell any who will hear that one more powerful than we are is coming.
Prayer: Dear Lord, during the is busy season, remind us to stop and give thanks for our awkward cousin. Help us not to worry so much about appearances and parties. Help us instead to worry about how well we are witnessing to the fact that the baby we are about to celebrate changed the world for the better. Thank God for our awkward cousin and his willingness to speak up for the Good News that Christ is among us! This Advent may we be more like Cousin John. Amen.
From the Church Street Advent Devotion Book, 2013