Jesus, help me say I'm sorry for my mistakes, and keep trying to be good as Christmas is coming! Amen.

When Jesus was ready to start teaching, John the Baptist reminded people to get ready, to show they were sorry for their sins by being baptized. "The one who's coming is much greater than I am," John said. "I don't even deserve to untie His shoes! And I'll just baptize you with water, but He can baptize with the Holy Spirit."

You're a good kid. You try your best to be kind and helpful. You pray for people and go to church. Still, when Christmas is coming, you might think of all the times you've messed up, and worry that your mistakes will make a difference in the presents you get!

Everyone makes mistakes - lots of them. If God ­totaled up every little thing each person did wrong and held it against them, we'd all be in trouble! But this week's Gospel (Mark 1:1-8) tells us that God doesn't do that.

In the Gospel story, John the Baptist is getting everyone ready to listen to Jesus. John admits that Jesus, the Son of God, is so amazing that even a holy person like John wouldn't deserve to ­untie His shoes.

Jesus is far above everyone else. If He wanted to, He could definitely count people's sins and mistakes and judge them for it.

But Jesus doesn't do that. In fact, John says, Jesus is hoping everyone will be sorry for their mistakes, because He plans to bring the Holy Spirit into their hearts. Jesus hopes people will believe in Him, and He'll help them be good.

Christmas is coming, and kids everywhere are trying to be extra good. But even when you mess up, Jesus is waiting for you to say you're sorry and try again. You can always start over with Jesus. John the Baptist said so, and he knew what he was talking about. John was Jesus' cousin!