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Oblate Blog: January 6, 2011: Conclusion of the Christmas Season

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Have you taken down your Christmas decorations yet? That’s o.k. if you have. You probably left them up longer than the retail stores who could hardly wait to take them down. However, in the Church the Christmas season does not officially end until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, this year on Sunday, January 9.

Why did Jesus come to John the Baptist and ask John to baptize him? First of all we need to remember that John’s baptism was not the same as our baptism. It indicated a desire to conform your life to God, to live according to the commandments, and to repent of sin. It did not, as our Christian baptism does, make the person who received it a child of God.

Many of the faithful Jews were going to John to ask for this baptism. John the Baptist seems to have been a very impressive figure, a convincing person, one who attracted people to listen to him. Even Herod, we are told, enjoyed hearing him preach. John preached the need for repentance, and he preached to the people that they should prepare for the Messiah.

Jesus too was a devout Jew and so he went to be baptized by John. John the Baptizer did not want to baptize him but Jesus insisted that it be this way for now. Then the Father used the occasion to reveal that this is indeed his son, the Messiah. "This is my beloved Son, my favor rests on him."

I like to think that when we received the baptism that Jesus gave to his followers, that we too heard these words spoken to us by God. Here is my beloved son or daughter. We became his beloved, his chosen ones at the time of our baptism. We truly became God’s children. We must remain his beloved children throughout our lives. We have to live like his children.

This of course is not always easy. Frequently to remain faithful requires some suffering. When it becomes difficult we need to look to Jesus for help and strength. He wants to help us.

I pray this Christmas season has been a blessed time for you. And I wish each of you many blessings during the year 2011.

Finally, a reminder to go to the top of the home page for the Conception Abbey web site and click on "picture gallery," and see many new pictures that have been added recently.