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We greet your coming, God, with wonder:
You come to be with us;
yet you remain far greater than we can imagine.
You are near;
yet your wisdom sets you apart from us.
You appear among us;
yet we cannot describe your glory.
We greet your coming, God, with repentance:
We are more or less satisfied with ourselves;
but your presence exposes our sin and failure.
We are self-confident;
but you challenge our confidence in ourselves.
We are proud of our understanding;
but you show us that we do not know everything.
We greet your coming, God, with joy:
We had no true idea of what you are like;
but you have shown us yourself in Jesus Christ.
We felt our human life could be of no importance to you;
but you have shown its value by appearing among us as a man.
We are aware of the gulf between us and you;
but you have bridged it with love.
God, we greet your coming in Jesus Christ our Lord!
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.