John became known as John the Baptist because his message of repentance was followed up with a call to be baptized. Hence, the Baptist nickname.
The word baptism sounds mysterious and religious, but it’s really just a common Greek word that means “to wash”. People in the Bible even talking about baptizing their hands before they eat, and baptizing their dishes after they eat.
Eventually John the Washer’s baptism became known as a “baptism of repentance”. He was calling Israel to repent and be washed as a visual reminder of a coming reality.
This year, rethink the way you Christmas and wash.
If you haven’t been baptized, tell someone in the church. If you have been baptized, remember what God did in your baptism–how the unshakable promises of forgiveness and eternal life are yours through the waters of baptism. Remember that no matter how unsteady and painful your life may be, the promises of God are unshakeable.
When you prepare for Christmas by washing in God’s promises, you’ll make yourself presentable for the arrival of the God who made those promises.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
What does today’s reading tell you about people? (Yourself and others.)
What does today’s reading tell you about God?
How do these ideas change the way you Christmas this year?