John the Baptist is the one character you never see in Nativity displays. We don’t have statues of him, reminding us to repent, to change our ways. But without John, Advent makes no sense, our preparation for Christmas could not happen. For John reminds us that a changed life is born from within us.
Consider this story…
The most precious gifts that we give are the gifts that require something from ourselves. Advent teaches us that true Christmas giving is inspired by the Spirit's call for justice, compassion, love and peace and that same Spirit empowered John the Baptist's proclamation of the coming of God's Messiah into the world. Today, our thoughtfulness of the needs and wishes of another are the real manifestations of the love of God in our midst and where we can find the true joy of Christmas. Amen.Kari Robert's brother Tony needed a new kidney to survive. Kari offered her own kidney, but doctors would not even consider it. Kari weighed 320 pounds. And that made her a poor candidate for surgery of any kind, much less one that involved donating a kidney, which were already compromised by her extra weight.
Kari was devastated. A busy working mom, she could not believe her weight had gotten so out of control. So Kari went to work, eating carefully and healthier, walking one mile, then two, and soon three miles a day.
Three years and 135 pounds later, Kari was tested again and found to be a perfect match to donate a kidney to her brother Tony. The love of a sister for her brother saves one life - and in the long-run, probably saved two. [TODAY.com, September 29, 2011.]