Our scripture this week is Mark 1:1-8, taken today from the English Standard Version (ESV).

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus teaches us about the Holy Spirit that we may know His presence with us always. In John 14:16 we hear “I will ask the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever”. When He appears to the disciples after the resurrection He tells them “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).

Jesus wanted them (and us) to know the joy of God’s eternal presence living in us and working through us. When we receive this gift of being together, one with the Father, we are energized and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go in His name to spread the Good News. Jesus taught us this that we might continue His ministry and share His love with everyone.

Even in the difficult situation we face this Christmas, there are still ways to reach out with His love. Make sure to stay in touch with those who need the joy of relationship most. While we distance ourselves physically to protect each other, we can and must continue to be connected, allowing the Holy Spirit to be active in our lives and our world.

Loving Lord, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, a guide and friend in our daily lives. Help us to know Your presence always and give Your love to the world. Amen.

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