He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
We can not find our way through Advent without walking through the message of John the Baptist. We must heed his call for repentance and apply it to our own lives. The path has been cleared but it is a winter path with no leaves on the trees, no green fields, and a cold sky. It takes courage to walk through a path of self-examination; to see your need; to repent; to accept the grace of Jesus’ gift for you. This is especially true in our society that worships self-sufficiency. We tend to look down on others who need help rather than admit our own need. But true repentance means that following Jesus makes a difference in our lives. We need to find ourselves in the people who asked John what to do after hearing his message of repentance and do what he told them.
Teach us to walk through the paths of winter, to look at our lives and see where we have failed to follow you. Give us the courage to admit our sin and our weakness and accept your grace and mercy.
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