Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17

Hi.  I hope you have been having a good Advent Season.  Today is December 17, the third Sunday of Advent. 

Let's take a look at the Gospel Reading for today:

Luke 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,

“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.

In today's verses of the Bible, John the Baptist speaks to us.  When those present ask John the Baptist, "What should we do?" when he proclaimed the Good News to them, he had a two part answer.  First he told them they should live a Godly life.  But in order to do this, he told them they must have Jesus as their Savior. 

Part of the answer was an invitation to live a Godly life.  He told them to share their cloaks and food.  He told the tax collectors to stop collecting more than what was prescribed.  He told the soldiers not to practice extortion (to take money under false pretenses), to not falsely accuse anyone, and to be satisfied with their wages.  

To accept the good news means that we be a person of faith, a person who believes in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. 

It also means we strive to be a good person.  When we become baptized in Christ, and become a new creation in Him, we have the Holy Spirit within us and are able to obey God's commandments, by His grace.  Jesus said that if we loved Him we would obey His commandments.  He also said, "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."

Often today, the tendency among us Christians is to emphacize the belief aspect while not stressing the importance of the Christian to have good behavior.  Let us not profess to be Christians and not match it with practical behavior.  If we don't allow our behavior to reflect who we say we are in Christ, we will cause a stumbling block for those who may consider becoming believers, who are often attracted to the person and teachings of Jesus, but are turned away by the behavior of those who claim to be His followers.

The best preparation we can make for the coming of the Lord this Christmas is to repent and ammend our ways, and to guide our actions by the selfless teachings of the Bible.  This is what is needed today to make our faith perfect so that we can stand with our heads raised high in joy, at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.      


An American Christmas - Decade by Decade

The Antique Christmas Lights Museum

game:  Christmas mad lib

Gospel reading:  Luke 3:10-18