Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. He came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled. Every mountain and hill will be brought low.
The crooked will become straight, and the rough ways smooth.
All flesh will see God’s salvation.’” Luke 3:1-6 (WEB)
I love the gospel of Luke and during this season of Christmas season, Luke has been teaching me … yet again.
Luke reminds me that this was a difficult time for God’s chosen people. Rome was in power. Absolute power. My husband tells me that Pilate, the governor, was a violent, foul ruler. If you disagreed with him or in any way angered him, you usually found yourself in jail, tortured, and disgustingly killed.
I know from previous chapters that John was sent by God as a prophet. He was to prepare the road that Jesus, the Messiah, was to walk. And so John is preaching a message of repentance. He is reminding us all that we are sinners and we need a Savior. We need to make a change in our lives; stop trying to make our life work on our own and turn to God for our hope. Just as the chosen people in Luke’s time needed a savior from Rome and needed hope for their future. Like us, their vision of what they really need was limited to the day, not eternity.
Often we Christians will bemoan the fact that Christmas is “too commercialized”. And yet that very statement characterizes our way of looking at our lives with Christ. We talk a good talk – but do not walk the path. By that I mean that I know, I know in my heart that Christmas is about Jesus. It is about the extravagant love of God that has come to us, in the flesh, to show us, by example, how to have a relationship with Him. And we can do that – because God haas made the sacrifice Himself so that we can have that relationship. How can I compare the joy of receiving a new robe to the gift of an eternal life with my Creator? How can I be disappointed with what I do not receive, when I have already received my heart’s true desire?
Let us begin today … this very day … to prepare the way for this Christmas to be the celebration that it is … All flesh will see God’s salvation.
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