2016 - Advent Reflection: Produce Good Fruit
Reflection by Ally Jeter - Associate Program Director, ACE Teaching Fellows
Especially around this time of year, we begin to hustle and bustle about, preparing homes and hearts for the coming of our dear families and the birth of our dear Savior. In this spirit, which is no doubt a beautiful, wholesome one, we are transported from the darkness of these winter days (both literal and sometimes figurative) into the hope and light of the birth of Jesus. Yet when we read this second Sunday’s Gospel, the scathing realism and passionate warning against empty utterings of mock repentance is a jarring way to enter into thought about what our Advent season is really all about.
There is so much joy in preparing for the holidays, that oftentimes we can become lost in the planning and mundane tasks that contribute to our own joyful holiday seasons. But John the Baptist, who was never one to mince words or keep up pretense, reminds us of the most important part of the season: Jesus, whose anticipated coming was all for the purpose of our salvation and deliverance, requires the utmost of us. He requires careful thought–not empty or vain prayers. He wants genuine repentance, and nothing less. He wants to see the fruits of our repentance and Christian love.
It is not enough for just our homes to be warm, just our tables to be filled, just our families to be satisfied—“[we cannot] presume to say to [ourselves], we have Abraham as our Father,” and leave it at that. With our many blessings, we are able to be a blessing to others. Seeking opportunities to spread the love of God in our respective ministries, to invite into Christian hope in our respective work places, to give generously in places we see there is lack, is what this season is about. Our “fruits” are evidence of our repentance. In light of the challenging times that we live in—economically, socially, and spiritually—now more than ever there is great need for our love and action to be evident to the World.