I sat down recently to spend a few minutes reading my Bible and decided to read the Christmas story in Mark. I couldn’t remember ever reading the Christmas story in that gospel, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Well, it appears Mark believes in cutting to the chase.
There’s no mention of a manger. No Mary and Joseph. No baby Jesus. No bright star or angels or heavenly hosts. No silent night. No holy night.
As a matter of fact, if Mark was the only gospel where Jesus’ entrance to this world was mentioned, Christmas would look vastly different.
There would be no gifts.
There would be no Linus delivering the stellar line in the Charlie Brown Christmas special.
There would be no lights shining so brightly.
There would be a wild looking man named John the Baptist dressed in leather and camel hair, preparing the way for Jesus by preaching one message. A message we don’t typically hear at Christmas.
A message that’s rough around the edges and little hard to swallow alongside my sausage balls and cheese blintzes.
That one word sums up the beginnings of the Christ story according to Mark.
“And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and 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…” (Mark 1: 4-5).
This is about the place in the sermon where I start hoping some people I know are really paying attention. I climb up on my mental high horse and think, “Thank you Lord for this message all these people need to hear- because you know how they act. You know how selfish they are. Whew. And you know so and so just needs a full out repentance revival. Mercy!”
It’s a that point, Jesus whispers to me. It’s a message to you and you alone. You need this message, Lysa. I am calling you to repent. This is the way you need to prepare for Christmas in your heart this year.
“I will send a messenger ahead of you, who will prepare the way- a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’ ” (Mark 1:2-3).
The girl who can be such a mess.
Hears the messenger calling for repentance.
So, she makes Christmas not the same old story but a message meant for her heart.
And she whispers once again, “I’m sorry Jesus. Forgive me. Heal me. Restore me. Those little places I excuse. Those same old things that trip me up. The pride that keeps me thinking it’s someone else’s fault. The busyness that makes me forget to stop and consider my ways- my thoughts- my actions. You, Messiah are the best match for my mess.”
I doubt this will ever be the most popular version of the Christmas story but for me this year, it’s perfect.Leave a Comment