It was a Thursday morning, and I was preoccupied with writing this article and considering the words of John the Baptist from the passage in Luke 3. John seems so out of place in Advent, I thought to myself. He speaks such harsh words of judgment and repentance when what we truly want to hear is Tiny Tim’s “God bless us everyone” to put us in the Christmas spirit. Instead John shouts in our faces, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. . . . Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:7–9). This is not exactly a message that we find reflected in the holiday movies and cards that innundate us at this time of the year.

Frustrated, I left my office and my reflection on the passage to attend a meeting with the coordinator of family and children’s ministry. Liz was explaining her ministry plans for the remaining months of 2012. My mind quickly shifted from Luke 3 to what we needed to do in the family and children’s ministry at Kairos Church. Our congregation is growing, especially with young families, and Liz has an incredibly important role in helping us respond to this growth. Appropriately, she was talking about our need to add some infant classrooms, about how we want to think about volunteer teaching teams and about topics that would be covered in the Sunday school curriculum.

Everything was going well until she said, “And I want to take a Saturday in December to do the largest mission endeavor for children and families that we have ever done at Kairos . . . probably with international refugees.”