Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas confessions

Have you read the Christmas story in Mark lately?  There’s no manger.  No Mary and Joseph.  No baby Jesus.  No star or angels.  No heavenly hosts or shepherds.  No silent night.
If Mark was the only one who wrote about Jesus’ entrance to the world, Christmas would look a lot different.
There would be no gifts.
There would be no Hallmark Christmas movies.
There would be no twinkling lights.
We would be eating locusts and honey instead of turkey and dressing. Instead of a manger scene, there would be a wild looking man dressed in leather and camel hair, preparing the way for Jesus by preaching one message.  
A message we don’t usually hear at Christmas.  
A message of repentance.
Mark’s good news of Christ’s arrival begins with a call for a change of mind that results in a change of actions.
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him (c)onfessing their sins
How many of us have Christmas confessions on our ‘to do’ list?
According to Mark’s gospel, the way we need to prepare for Christmas is to repent.
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”
John prepared the way for the arrival of Christ by leading the people to turn from their sinful ways.
Forgive me.
I’m sorry.
Heal me.
Restore me.
Change me.
But today, instead of repenting, we shop, we decorate, we bake, we party, and then we compare our gifts and decorations, and activities with everyone else’s. 
Our path is full of distractions and detours, and we miss out on God with us.  
This Christmas take the time to prepare the way for the Lord by preparing your heart and not just your house.

Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.