By Quin Hillyer

Excerpts from a column:

Consider the third Sunday of Advent as the peaceful, calming lull before the liturgical tempo revs up toward its Christmas Day climax (or at least the climax of this season, Easter of course being the climax of the liturgical year). … [T]he lesson could not be more clear: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”

Repeatedly throughout all three readings we are reassured, comforted, promised great things, told that the Lord is (or soon will be) “in our midst” (twice)… and then, in Philippians, additionally boosted and bolstered with the famous words that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds.”….

Yet because those three readings are so uplifting, parts of the message of [John] the Baptist seem especially jarring, if not a little frightening. He speaks of axes and fires and winnowing forks and, again, “unquenchable fire.”

Yikes. Not so comforting after all….

[Later,] directly from a horrid burning with unquenchable fire, we are told that John likewise “proclaimed the good news.” Somehow, “good news” is not the first thing I think when I’m warned that if I don’t straighten up, I’ll end up in hellfire.

How, pray tell, is that good news?….

Find out how this all works out, at PJ Media, here.