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The relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist is one of the most touching stories in the New Testament.

Relatives and devoted friends, their mothers had spent about six months visiting together immediately before the birth of their two sons. It was John who first identified Jesus as the Savior, introducing him to the people at the Jordan. As Jesus commenced his ministry, John continued with his, the two often communicating, always keeping in touch, sending messengers back and forth.

When Herod, the king, took for himself the wife of his own brother, John confronted him with his sin. Herod feared John, and the woman hated him, so Herod had John thrown into prison.

One night there was a big palace party; there was a dance which pleased the king, and as a reward the
woman demanded the head of John. So John was killed that night and his head carried into the palace on a platter.

Out there somewhere was Jesus – busy, weary, harassed by the pressure of the crowds. To him and his disciples came messengers with the tragic news that John was dead.

Receiving this news, what did Jesus do? A simple and totally undramatic thing: he calmly turned to his disciples, perhaps with a heavy sigh, and said softly, “Come apart with me to a quiet place, and let us rest awhile.” This was all, just this. And this they did, he and they together.

And this is what Jesus invites us to do – from the daily requirements of the long road, to come apart and gather strength for going on. This is what we do when we take time and make space to pray each day of Advent. A God Nod

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