This may only be the second Sunday of Advent, but I am already over Christmas. Like everyone else, I get caught up in the spirit of the "holiday" season--the shopping, the baking, the decorating, the parties--while simultaneously trying to hold a quiet space for the season of Advent. Honestly, it feels like a losing battle: even in church, there are people itching to sing "O Come All Ye Faithful," and it is only December 4th. It is a stressful time of year for many people. According to the National Institutes of Health, Christmas is a time of year when people report a higher incidence of depression and anxiety. The underlying causes of this uptick in sadness include less sunlight, unrealistic expectations, financial pressure, and excessive commercialization. The report also said many people felt increased pressure to be perfect during the holiday season. So right when we're all starting to feel overwhelmed by this impending holiday, who should show up but John the Baptist. This is where we always find him, this Second Sunday of Advent, waist deep in the muddy Jordan, dressed in nothing but skins and a belt, ranting like a street preacher: Repent! For the kingdom of heaven has come near! He turns up every year at this time, like a relative we've been avoiding. You know the one--that person you have to invite to the family Christmas party even though no one really wants to see him and he'll probably bring a fruitcake...again.