John helps the people to be ready to receive the Messiah by inviting them to be baptized in the river Jordan. It was across this river that they entered the Promised Land after years of wandering; it is now the place to enter into the era of the Messiah. It symbolized that the passage from wandering about in the desert to settling down now becomes the passage from sin and death to grace and new life in God. John administered the baptism to those who accepted their own sins and their need of God and wanted to be forgiven. John and the people believed that it was not a human being but God who was forgiving them their sins. Our Baptism is the external expression of dying to the old self of sin and the determination to rise and live a new risen life with Jesus who is victorious over sin and death. The season of Advent is to help us prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a meaningful way. The commercial world proposes Christmas preparation in terms of material gifts. But without the preparation at the deeper level of the heart and the desire to be reconciled with God and with each other, Christmas will remain just another occasion to have good parties and then to continue living as before. Advent might be a good occasion to celebrate the way in which our baptism reconciles us to God and to others in our daily lives.