Luke 3:1-6 NRSV
Luke’s Gospel has a lot of stuff in it that seems to relate to OT prophets. Makes sense. I mean, Luke is the only Gospel that goes into so much detail about how John the Baptizer’s life was foretold by prophets, so was Jesus’ birth, and oh by the way, a prominent character in the story is an Israelite priest, Zechariah. And then, consider John the Baptizer. He is a guy telling people to be purified, he speaks of fire and refining, and water is involved. But someone else is coming after him to do just that.
Okay, I get it. By this point, you should have made some connections between Malachi and Luke. There’s nothing wrong with that. But each book should stand on its own if we are to embrace their meaning.
In the case of Luke, we are talking about a cleansing and purifying, but it’s called baptism. Jewish baptism was commonplace and Luke’s readers would have understood. But baptism was more than just a religious ritual to be cleansed from sin. Baptism was marking an internal transformation in the person and a display of that transformation in the form of changed behavior. Baptism is an “unbinding” of people, i.e. freedom to become the fullest expression of what they can be.
I will call this wholeness.
Wholeness, to me, is when we are truly ourselves. It is when we fully express our humanity without convention, worry, or external influence.
One thing that helps me to daily consider if I am pursuing wholeness within myself is to consider my day-to-day activities and choices.
For me it is helpful to ask: Will this choice bring me into greater wholeness, coherency, harmony and integration, or take me further away from it?
We make choices every day. But how often do we consider whether or not these choices make us more whole?
So it’s Advent; Christmas is on its way. Gifts are on people’s minds. So here’s a take-home activity for you to consider. I want you to think about 3 gifts.
Gift 1: What would you like to give yourself?
Gift 2: What would you like to give to someone you care about?
Gift 3: What would you like to give a stranger?
Consider these three gifts. They will lead you to wholeness.