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The Reason for the Season - Pastor's Pen for 10th December 2023

Advent begins and on a three year cycle just like that we are in year B, which focuses on the Gospel of Mark. You will know by now that Mark keeps it short and to the point, skipping all the early part of Jesus' life, so much so that when it comes to Christmas we have to dip into Matthew and Luke to find those nice stories of shepherds, angels, mangers, mysterious magi from the east, and so on.

Mark chapter 1 just starts with; 'The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah' (v1) then launches into the part where the messenger, John the Baptist, heralds and prepares for Jesus' ministry; with words from Malachi and Isaiah;

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,

    who will prepare your way’–

‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness,

“Prepare the way for the Lord,

    make straight paths for him.”’ (v2,3)

Sometimes it's good to get things right back to the simple gospel. We surround ourselves with all sorts of technologies and and distractions, events and obligations. Before we are even out of chapter 1 in Mark, Jesus is baptised, commissioned and anointed by the Holy Spirit and engaged in healing deliverance ministry. Note he also takes solitude to recharge the batteries in prayer at a solitary place.

Lord deliver us from so many things that distract us from the true reason for the season; 'the good news about Jesus the Messiah.' May we take a little time to remember Jesus in our Christmas rush.

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