December 5

Mark 1:1-4

“John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” vs 4

The people were ready for John when he appeared in the wilderness with his radical message. They were tired of the Roman occupation, fed up with the corruption of the religious leaders, sick of hopeless living, and ready for a fresh start. So they flocked to him by the Jordan, listened to his transforming challenges, and waded into the water by the hundreds to be baptized as a sign of their repentance and their intention to lead changed lives. Many of us are familiar with such experiences–we face them regularly in the course of our lives. We wonder about the trajectory of our journeys, where we are going and whether we’re accomplishing anything useful on the way. Sometimes we are angry and blame others–occasionally we’re bored and tired of the “same old same old.” John advised change. “Repent,” he told the crowds, “get yourselves turned around and head in a new direction.” Of course that’s easier said than done. Even when we’re unhappy with our situations, there’s comfort in the ruts of routine, and self-directed change is enormously difficult. But John comes like clockwork every Advent for our annual review. Rather than allowing us to get comfortable in our discipleship, he encourages introspection and challenges assumptions. “Take a hard look,” he says, “and if you don’t like what you see, change!”

Thought for the Day: What is my annual review telling me?

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