Summary: John The Baptist - Jesus strange relitave

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Mark 1:1-8

We are quickly approaching the days when people will travel to be with family. Some houses will be packed. The Roads and airports will be full of people willing to spend time, energy and money to be with loved ones. It all sound great doesn’t it. Family getting together.

Most families have at least one member that acts a little strange. You know they have a little personality Quirk. They will say what ever is on their mind wither it hurts feelings or not. Perhaps they are just loud or nothing is good enough. Perhaps they are always doing better than you or their health is worse.

For some of my family, that person is me.

However, for me it was my aunt Gerry (Geraldine). A madden aunt that lived much of her life in California. She gave the strangest gifts. She talked about weird things in her letters.

Then she moved to Birmingham where we were living. He had this harsh laugh and strange clothes. She had strong opinions on every subject, even the ones that she had little or absolutely no personal experience with.

She was always invited to the family Christmas and rightly so. Family is family.

In today’s scripture we have a family member of Jesus showing up. A man that lived in the wilderness, either in a community that isolated itself from the city folks or alone. From the basic description he sounds like he would look pretty scary. He probably had wild hair with a long beard.

He dresses funny. Camels hair clothes and I am not talking about a cardigan sweater with stylish lines I am talking about, tanned hid stitched together with home made thread that was meant to protect from the thorns and insects more than to look good. He has a wide leather belt also probably hand-made to hold his clothing close to the body. I doubt it was an accessory to match his sandals, which I suspect he had.

His eating habits were strange as well. Locust and wild honey, not exactly something I look for at the family banquet. It is not claimed that that was his favorite meal so perhaps it is just one of thoes quirks we remember about family. Maybe he did it only once….or perhaps it is a statement of how hard the wilderness life really was.

- Last week we talked about the second coming of Christ. A strange way of leading to Christmas, except that the season of advent is all about preparation. And today we live in a world that should constantly be in a state of preparation for Jesus return. It is more than just personal preparation but, continuous preparation of our friends, family and community.

- Here we are in Week two of the New Christian year, the second Sunday of Advent and we have another piece of scripture that seems to have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Mark picks up with the description of the moments just before Jesus comes to be baptized.

Ok, Where is the baby, the story of the hard trip, and the angels. That is what it is all about not some wacky relative that shows up to embarrass the family.

Advent is about preparation more than it is about the physical birth of Jesus. For most of us preparation mans going up in the attic and bring down the decorations, setting up the tree, making the house look festive. It probably goes farther, preparations of special foods and the purchase and wrapping of gifts. There could easily be thousands of things required to happen before Christmas actually gets here.

--- Oh my goodness, where does the time go!

Mark does not waste any time getting to the main event in scripture:

1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The word gospel indicating “good news” which, for him, means the beginning of the actual work of Christ. The promises given through the prophets to Israel and to mankind. The promises of Mercy, Justice and Grace

The he goes on to talk about the prophets, 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"— 3"a voice of one calling in the desert, ’Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ "

Mark reminds us that the prophet Isaiah has predicted this moment in time. It is a sign that the messiah is coming on the scene. He skips over the details which he probably did not know because he was very young or perhaps he did not feel were important to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mark, the first Gospel writer, skips the part we celebrate completely.

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