New life and hope

Judea, first century. Excitement in the air. A new stirring of life and hope. A rugged wilderness man appearing to proclaim that Jesus, the Messiah, will come.

We, in the middle of a difficult world, pause to remember the beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We look ahead to Christmas in its true meaning: Jesus has come as the Babe in Bethlehem, the Man from Galilee and the Lamb of Calvary. He has come for us.

John’s message starts with repentance. Great crowds came to hear John as the excitement grew. John, a stern preacher, exposed their sins and broke through their facade of self-righteousness and religiosity. Confessing their sins, they repented and humbled themselves in a Jordan River baptism. Forgiven, they awaited the appearance of “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Christmas often provides a superficial joy of the tinsel, glitter and wrapping-paper variety. We sometimes come to Christ wearing masks, desiring sin and heaven, too.

What secrets lurk in the shadows of our hearts? John’s message pierces the facade, sweeps away the superficial and penetrates to our hearts. Confessing, we humbly turn to the cross of Jesus for forgiveness — and live daily in the humbling but joy-giving waters of baptism. There is true excitement in the air, new life and hope, from the forerunner’s message of repentance. Jesus has come for us. May our Lord continue to richly shower His Blessings upon you as you celebrate His birth!