We have tended to romanticise much of the Bible or draw our mental images from Cecil B DeMille, the movies, or even from a children’s bible. But imagine going to the centre of the village in Borehamwood and seeing a man standing on one of the benches, his hair unkempt and wild, his clothing made of itchy camel’s hair tied together with a long piece of leather, who is eating the insects of the area or dripping the honey from bee’s nests into his mouth. He yells at everyone passing by: “Get ready! It’s coming Make yourselves clean! Repent of your sins! Let me dunk you in this fountain and clean you!” How many of us would react favourably to such a scene today? How many of us would turn our heads and try to ignore the whole scene? Yet, this is a picture of John The Baptist that the Bible paints. But he must have had some kind of charisma—something that drew people to him, and not just the other crazies. Indeed he also drew the Pharisees and the Sadducees to him. Were they curious? Or looking for a laugh? But he recognised them straight away and understood their motives and called them“ You brood of vipers.” “You snakes,” He then gets to the core of the problem that he has with them. They were privileged, thought they had God on their side but John wanted them to be the seed that grows into wheat not just the chaff that is thrown away. They had become complacent. They were the chosen people and thought they did not need to change.
And that’s the message given to us today, but we often do not want to hear it. We are too complacent. We are too ready to just slither along with the way things are. We do not want to change our lives in the way that God suggests in these readings. We must develop Advent Hearts— be prepared to change our lives to plant the seed of Jesus’ teaching in our families, our communities, and our world. We need to follow the teaching of Jesus and Christfy our world!