“A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people…so John declared: “I baptise you with water, but someone is coming….who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
While Jesus was at prayer after his own baptism, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape like a dove… and a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you” (extract from Luke 3:15-22).
The Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Baptism, but why? Jesus was baptised as an adult; Christmas is about the Baby Jesus!
Well, partly true; partly false. Yes, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but we heard a Christmas story a couple of weeks ago (Feast of the Holy Family) which involved Jesus aged 12. So Christmas is not just about the BABY Jesus.
The Baptism of Jesus is the first time Jesus makes a decision of his own; that makes it an ideal place to end the Christmas Narrative.
So, what is his choice? At his baptism, Jesus is accompanied by – for the only time in the entire Bible – God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Unusually, the Father speaks (unusually becasue Jesus is the WORD OF GOD); uniquely, the Holy Spirit is ONLY EVER SEEN at Jesus’ baptism. We don’t know why the Spirit is in the form of a dove; there may have been a reason, but it’s not know now. So, for the only time in human history, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is seen, heard and sensed. The presence of the Trinity is God’s commitment to humanity. In his baptism (which means ‘immersion’) Jesus commits humanity, which he shares with all other people, to God’s gift!
The stage is set for Jesus’ ministry: so Christmas ends!