Main Text: Luke 3:7-18 (Zephania 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7)

Why would they pick this passage about John in the wilderness right before Christmas? This is supposed to be a season about the little baby being born. It does not seem appropriate to have John yelling at everyone. Certainly, this does not seem like a good “Lutheran” text about grace. Yet, the writer of Luke, after John’s tirade, says that “with many exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.” What good news? Well here is a good question. Would it be good news if God simply told us everything was ok and to just keep going on with what you are doing? If we recognize the power of sin and that the world is not operating as God intended, then what should we do? The reading from Zephaniah reminds us that God’s presence is meant to free us from fear and the bondage to our mistakes and failures. God’s presence turns our shame into praise. The letter to the Philippians calls us to then live a life of praise in which we rejoice in the presence of God and trust that God will lead and guide us. In that context, Luke’s reading is good news that invites us to change our lives from the values of the world, by aligning them with the kingdom of God already come in Jesus Christ. As we align our lives to the values of the kingdom, it is a good question to ask. What should we do? The Lord is near!