The Shepherd’s Vigil, 12/8/21

John went throughout the region, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins.”        Luke 3:3

I think John is a very brave man, calling for people to ‘change’.  We all struggle to make small changes, like a healthier diet by a doctor’s suggestion, to set the alarm earlier to accommodate a situation at work.  Small changes are hard, but John was asking for so much more; he was calling for a change of heart and life.

In our baptism liturgy we ask, “do you repent of your sin and reject the evil powers of this world?”.  Naturally we say yes because we all hate bad things and want forgiveness.  The expectation is that now life is different, things change.  We no longer do the things that are bad and harmful and rejoice in God’s forgiveness.  But do our lives change?

Change is hard; we push back and try to resist it.  Even now the world has changed so much in the last two years.  “Can’t we just go back to the way things were before?”  Sorry, no we can’t.  Some things are forever different.  Some are good and some we grieve over the loss.

When a baby is born into our family everything changes.  There is no going back.  If you have had a child enter your home, you know what I am talking about.  Some parents may try to keep doing life the way they always have and not change their patterns, habits, and routines.  Do they make the best parents?  When a baby comes it changes our hearts and when we are fundamentally changed at our core, everything changes.

That is what John is calling for in the scriptures.  Jesus is coming.  Prepare the way.  Change at the heart level and change your whole life.  A baby is coming, a child is born to us in the celebration of Christmas.  May we be ‘baptized’ with the coming of the Christ child.

Joy and Peace be yours,

Pastor Rafe