Our scripture this week is Mark 1:1-8, taken today from the New International Version (NIV).

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “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.’” 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. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Each of the Gospels has a different way of introducing us to Jesus. While we tend to focus on the baby in the manger, only Luke’s account contains that familiar story. Matthew’s begins with the genealogy of Jesus and John tells of the Word made flesh.

Mark chooses still a different path, with the simple truth “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (v. 1). Each of these testimonies speak to us about the fact that Jesus came to be with us, part of humanity, that we might understand God’s everlasting love for us. They bring the same wonderful message to us in different ways.

As we remember Christ’s coming this year, may we again be caught up in the joy of His arrival, regardless of the issues we are facing. We have gotten used to saying “things aren’t normal this year”, but if we are honest there have been challenges throughout our lives and all of human history. Don’t let the current troubles prevent us from seeing the wonderful future that is promised and sharing the Good News with everyone.

Loving Lord, we are troubled by our present circumstances but we know You are still in control. Help us to see past the issues of today to the joy of eternity You have prepared. Amen.

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