It sounds strange read the words “warnings” and “Good News” in the same sentence. For John the Baptizer there was no contradiction between warning people about their injustice and proclaiming the Good News of the coming One. Preparing for God’s coming was not just about having some nice feeling in the heart or agreeing with some theological ideas. Preparation for John was about changing every facet of life – attitudes, belief systems and behavior. This remains true for us as we hear the call to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ both then and soon again.
It is tragic that the season of preparation and incarnation has become one of the most unjust times in the human year. It is devastating that the time of “Good News” has become about consumption, materialism, and self-indulgence. If there is any preparation at all, it is in nice feelings of “goodwill” which may cause us to give a few coins to a beggar or be nice to someone we would rather reject. But what Christmas calls us to is a far more radical preparation of our hearts and lives. It calls us to become people for whom justice is a core value. It calls us to be people who have been captured and consumed by the principles and mission of God’s message – which address economic equality, freedom, and stewardship of His creation. John the Baptizer is the embodiment of this alternative way of living – humility, commitment to the poor, sacrifice, simplicity, challenging corruption, and integrity.
Allow these values to challenge you to be true Christmas people rather than just those who use the season as an excuse to pander to our addictions.
Lord, as we receive these your gifts of life and love, let us give thanks for willingness of Your Son to come to earth on our behalf and Your love that endured the wounds laid upon Him. Amen.
Sharing the Lord’s Supper
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
(Take the Bread)
In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
(Take the Cup)