The Weekly Perspective

by TJ Draper, Deacon

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

— Mark 1:1–8, today’s lectionary gospel reading

We are currently in the beginning of the church year, in the season of Advent — that time of great anticipation as we look forward to the festivities of Christmas. This is the time the church around the world, and even the world along with us, by and large, celebrates the incarnation of the Savior, Christ the King. You can look all your neighbors square in the eye this time of year and say, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” and they won’t bat an eye.

And so we do indeed approach Christmas with great anticipation. Christ’s first coming into the world signifies His intent to free us from our sins, which separate us from our creator God. And that is why, during this season of preparation, we can look at John the Baptizer calling us to repentance, and we can follow that call. We can repent because we have a Savior who has paid for our sins. The babe that lay in a manger, which we prepare to celebrate, lived a sinless life and died for our sins. That gives us the confidence and boldness to repent as John calls us to do. That is one way we can prepare during this watchful season. Take inventory of your heart, of the things you say and do, and repent — lay your sins at the feet of Christ your Savior. He will relieve those burdens from you so that you can celebrate with all the more joy this Christmas season. Because as you repent of your sins, you will find renewed vigor in your celebrations. Your gift giving will be that much more sweet as you receive the gifts given freely to you and all of us. So sing with joy, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus!”