People in Jerusalem, all Judea, and the district around the Jordon went to John, confessed their sins and were baptized by him in the Jordon River.
John was to tell of the Messiah. John's call for repentance helps us prepare, too. What sin lurks in the wilderness of our hearts? How are we stunted in our growth in Him by sin within us?
What unconfessed sins linger? Careless words, unforgiving heart, a gift we will not give, offense harboured, critical spirit, a judgmental attitude?
Will you repent with me? Will you prepare your heart with me for the presence of God-with-us?
According to Webster's, to repent means to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life.
Right now I am in this place of sorrow and regret. I know a contrite heart He will not despise.
The place is difficult. Yet these branches do not bear fruit. They need to be pruned and cast into the fire.
So with the second advent candle lit, I answer the call of John the Baptist. I repent.
We wait expectantly this advent season. So come, come, Emmanuel, God with us.
"And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Matthew 3: 10-12 NASV