Welcome to Flame of Fire Ministries Online!
Just the beginning
As John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, he baptized people and urged them to turn their lives around and live for God. As powerful as this ritual was, John was clear that Jesus’ baptism would be more so: “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8, NIV).
The story is told of a gruff old man who’d resisted baptism all his life. Finally, he told his pastor he was ready to be baptized, according to the church’s custom, that Christmas. After breaking the ice off the surface of the local pond, the minister plunged the man, face first, into the frigid water three times “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
As the man emerged the third time, he exclaimed, “Thank God that’s over!”
“Oh, no,” replied the pastor. “Baptism is just the beginning.”
What greater proof could God have given of his mercy than by taking upon himself that which needed mercy? Where is there such fullness of loving-kindness as in the fact that the Word of God became perishable like the grass for our sakes?
Let man infer from [Christmas] how much God cares for him. The humanity of God shows the greatness of his kindness.
—Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
• Second Sunday of Advent, December 7, 2014
• Third Sunday of Advent, December 14, 2014
• Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 21, 2014
• First Day of Winter, December 21, 2014
• Christmas Eve, December 24, 2014
• Christmas Day, December 25, 2014
• New Year’s Eve/Watch Night, December 31, 2014
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