Jolly Ol’ St. John the Baptist?
You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Jesus Christ is coming to town! Okay, so maybe that’s not the way the song goes － but that’s what John the Baptist has been telling the people. Knowing that the Messiah is coming is one thing. Knowing what to do in order to prepare is something else altogether.
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
In this week’s Gospel reading, the people ask John the Baptist what they need to do in order to get ready for the arrival of their new king. Unlike the arrival of an earthly king, John does not tell them to dress in fine clothes or gather riches to offer as gifts. In fact, he doesn’t really tell them to prepare anything specifically for the king at all.
What John tells the people to do is to start being nice to one another. He instructs them to share their clothing and their food. He speaks to everyone from tax collectors to soldiers, advising them to do their duty without taking what does not belong to them. His instructions are based upon the concept of goodwill towards others, and they are instructions that are very applicable to us during this Advent and Christmas season.
Christmas Bells Are Ringing
A friend of mine shared with me that her kids cannot walk past a Salvation Army bell-ringer without putting some money in the bucket. It’s just one of those little things that she had taught them since they were little, and it’s become an important tradition for all of them.
I thought it was a wonderful story, and so shortly after I heard it I shared it with my wife. A few days later, we were out shopping with our boys in tow, and there was a Salvation Army bell-ringer on the sidewalk. Neither of us had any change or small bills, so we told the boys to remind us on the way out. As we exited the store a bit later, we gave each of the boys some money to place in the bucket.
“I’ve been thinking about that ever since you told me about it,” my wife said. I didn’t have to ask her what “it” was, because I had been thinking about it too. “Can you imagine if every single person dropped some change in the bucket every time they walked by one?”
We decided right then and there that tossing money into every Salvation Army bucket we passed was the type of Christmas tradition that we would be proud to adopt and pass on to our children. And even though we didn’t have a lot of extra money, we were willing to share what we did have.
For as John the Baptist pointed out, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none.” So in our own little way, we have been sharing our cloaks… and preparing our hearts for the arrival of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
What charities do you support during the Christmas season? Why?
What sort of traditions do you have?
What are you doing to prepare yourself for the birth of Jesus?
Copyright 2003-2018 by Brandon Jubar
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