"You brood of vipers!" Matthew 3:7
John the Baptist was certainly a character! He was the same age as Jesus, but was more fiery, more radical in his lifestyle. He wore camel's hair and ate grasshoppers and wild honey. The amazing thing is that hordes of people would go out into the wilderness to listen to him, to confess their sins, and to be baptized in the Jordan River. They thought he was the Messiah! It says that Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan would trek to the desert. That was not an easy walk. They would have to plan for it, bring food and drink.
When John saw that even the Sadducees and Pharisees were lining up to be baptized, he called out, "You brood of vipers! Who told you to flee from the wrath to come? Give some evidence that you mean to reform!" Were they lining up for show? John, in contrast to Jesus, could not see their hearts. I think that they should have confessed their sins first before going for their baptism in the Jordan. I think before we think of decorating our houses for Christmas, before we wrap our gifts and give them, before we light our Advent wreaths, we should come before God and ask forgiveness for our many sins. Advent is a time when we should prepare for the coming of Jesus and what better gift can we give Him but a clean heart and pure hands?
Lord, please forgive me for my sins against You, and against my brothers and sisters. Please do not hold against me all the times I failed to love like You. Please bathe me in Your forgiveness O Lord as I acknowledge my many failings. Cleanse me and wash me clean O Lord.