For many, the thought of Christmas warms the heart. Just the mention of the day can bring images of family gatherings, the smell of hot cocoa, a beautifully decorated tree, and the sound of carols playing in the background. Contrast these images with the stark words of John the Baptist in today’s Gospel reading. Speaking of the coming Messiah, he said, “His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:17).
The thought of Jesus burning the “chaff” in our lives isn’t as appealing as enjoying a cup of hot cocoa on Christmas night, but it...
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