3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
In Luke 3: 1-6, Luke first tells us who the political and religious leaders were in Isreal around 27 AD. Most of these leaders were corrupt and seeking wealth and power. However, during this time John, son of Zechariah, is called by God to prepare the people of Isreal for the coming of the Messiah. He is telling them that they need to turn themselves toward God and away from the corruption that is so prevalent. John baptizes people in the Jordan River to wash away their sins and “prepare the way for the lord.”
Today we still practice the act of baptism. Many of us are baptized as young babies, with no knowledge that we are being baptized or why. Although this act is a very important first step in maintaining a life focused on Christ, it is vitally important that we continue to work on maintaining this relationship with God throughout our lives. During the Christmas season it is so easy to get caught-up in the glitter and gold and forget what we really are celebrating. God sent us his son Jesus as a Messiah, a messenger of his word. God’s message is to practice love, forgiveness, and generosity. During this season of advent, let us remember again why we were baptized. By turning our focus on God and his message and away from earthly possessions, we are truly celebrating the Christmas season.