The commercialization of Christmas in the 21st century has blinded minds from an invisible gift. If you can escape from the advertisements of cars, diamond rings and other high priced items, Christmas is not about buying and exchanging gifts that many can’t afford. Rather, the mass of Christ is about accepting a promised child, the Messiah, who came to save you from your earthly imperfections.
I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire, Matthew 3:11.
One of Jesus’ disciples records a conversation between John the Baptist and Jesus in the passage above and below. At this point in the first century, many sensed that John was the Messiah in waiting. When approached with this notion, John corrected this misnomer, explaining that he is merely preparing the way. John uses baptism to illustrate the difference between his ministry and the promised One to come.
But John protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? 15 But Jesus replied to him, Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him, Matthew 3:14-16.
The purpose of any baptism is a public expression of an inner faith. While John’s baptism was centered around confession and forgiveness, Jesus promises an invisible gift in John 16:13. What his disciples did not understand at the time, this gift would transfer power from priests to those who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11. You won’t find this gift under a Christmas tree. Rather, when you find Jesus, access is gained, Romans 5:1-5, with a goal of keeping is step with the Holy Spirit daily. May 2020 be a year where the Holy Spirit awakens your soul to this invisible Christmas gift.
by Jay Mankus