Advent: Day 8

Daily Office Lections: Amos 6:1-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; Luke 1:57-68

Both the Gospel readings from the Daily Office lectionary and the Eucharistic lectionary are focused on St. John the Baptist who is the forerunner of the Messiah, the one who is to prepare the way for the arrival of the king.

John the Baptist prepares the way by overtly exhorting us to repent (calling the Pharisees and Sadducees a "brood of vipers" is hardly subtle or unclear.

John is also a living breathing reminder of the promises of God as well as his faithfulness to his promises. Much in the same way as Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, John was born miraculously to his parents in their old age as if to say that the promises made long ago to the patriarchs are about to be fulfilled. In fact, Zechariah (John's father) prophesies that very thing: "To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham" (Luke 1:73).

Also, his ministry out on the Jordan is a reminder that God is faithful, that he delivered his people Israel from Egypt, sustained them in the wilderness, and led them across the Jordan into the Promised Land. And it is a sign that, now, the Messiah is leading the new and better Exodus, delivering his people from their bondage to sin, death, and the devil by his precious blood, the blood of the Lamb of God.

So in this second week of Advent let us ponder the life and ministry of John the Baptist, heeding his call to repentance so that we, as the collect says, "may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer."