I cannot think about Christmas this year without thinking about John the Baptist. He is one of the people we most closely associate with Advent, but not with Christmas. Though he is mentioned in all four Gospels in the Bible, it is his place in the Gospel of Mark which is of particular interest to me this day.
In Mark there is no Christmas story. There are no shepherds, no star in the east, no wise men, no manger. Instead, there is a wild man named John who eats Locusts, dresses in animal skins, and lives in the desert (a place of great significance throughout the Old and New Testaments).
The cry of John the Baptist is one of repentance, which means change. He challenges us, warns us, to awaken our most contrite and vulnerable parts. He points the way toward healing and wholeness, toward the world of the heart.
Our children, like John the Baptist, are beautiful reminders that Christmas is not all light and fluff. Simply by being, they crack a hole in the veneer of the glitzy, happy-only holiday that has become Christmas. They remind us that it is a Season of repentance and change, of deepening our spiritual lives, of putting love front and central in our lives. And they remind us that all of our days should begin and end with John’s cry in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord.
"As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth." Luke 3:4-5
PRAYER: Lord, we know that You are our hope for peace on earth, and for peace in the heart. We thank You for being newly born into our world again this Christmas. Help us to prepare a way for You each day of our lives. Amen.
May Christ be newborn in your heart this Christmas