Second Sunday of Advent: December 8            

Matthew 3:1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

 

from Elder Roger Mullins, First Christian Church, Bluefield

            “In those days…” begins the Advent scripture for us today.  John came to prepare the people for the coming of another. Coming events have occurred often in the life of the Judeo-Christian faith: from Egypt, from the desert, from Babylon, the Christ child, John and the second coming of Jesus.  Our usual advent focus is upon the birth of the Christ child. As we commune this advent season, hear John who tells us “…the kingdom of heaven is near.”  We as believers are called to come to and embrace the kingdom of heaven, which is nearby. How have we prepared the way for our coming to this kingdom? Have we applied for citizenship in this new kingdom? In these days as I contemplate John preparing the way for the people, I shall also contemplate my preparation for citizenship and entry into the nearby kingdom of heaven. How about you?

May we heed your call, God, to come into your kingdom!

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