The feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of Christmas – which might not make much sense at first. After all, Christmas celebrates the baby Jesus – the fact that God chose to become a little boy. So why is something that happened when Jesus was thirty years old celebrated as part of Christmas?
This last part of Christmas, which began with the Epiphany, is all about Jesus being shown to the whole world. Last week, at Epiphany, the Church actually celebrated three events –Jesus being shown to the wise men as a child, Jesus being shown to the world at his baptism & Jesus showing himself to others when he changed water into wine at the wedding of Cana. So, in fact, we’ve already been celebrating Jesus’ baptism for a week and the reason we’ve been doing this is because it’s all about Jesus being shown to the world. That’s an important part of the message of Christmas.
This feast also reminds us that being a baptised person is such a privilege! Just as Jesus’ baptism began an important new chapter in his life – when he started ministering publicly – your baptism was also the beginning of the most important chapter in your life. When you were baptised, you were adopted and chosen by God to play a unique part in an incredible mission – the mission of showing Jesus to the world. Just take a moment to contemplate that – the Lord and Master of the Universe has picked you and he’s given you a particular task to do that he hasn’t given to anyone else.
Although the rest of the world has gone back to normal since Christmas, we are just beginning our first week of normality. That doesn’t mean everything should be the same as before though! Every day we should be striving to remember that, just as Jesus came into the world on Christmas Day, we should be bringing Jesus into our families, our homes, our workplaces, schools and colleges. We need to show him to the world by speaking the truth and by loving God and loving others.
This feast reminds us that all of us are sent out by the Father, with the Holy Spirit, just like Christ was at his Baptism. Let’s continue the joyful celebrations we began at Christmas by sharing the amazing gift of our faith with others throughout the rest of the year.