“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Matthew 3:1-3
Every year during the season of Advent we have one Sunday that talks about John the Baptist. And I have wondered for years why we would talk about him when we are preparing for the coming of the nativity of Jesus. It seems out of order to me. After all, John was Jesus’ cousin and born not much before He was.
So then, I think about how the gospel writers thought he was an important part of the Gospel narrative. And then I remember that the folks who came up with the Lectionary think that he was an important part of the story as well.
So, there they were. Two babies who were important to our faith. Two babies whose adulthood would be spent preaching to folks who followed them in great numbers. Two babies who survived despite the odds of survival of that day.
We remember those two babies – John and Jesus – and we know the end of their stories. We know that they both pointed to our God as one who would be with us. We remember their lives that were given for us as examples of faith and love. One was a bit rough, one was more peace loving. But, both of them were God’s spokespersons.
As the season of Advent rolls out before us, let’s remember that we are to share that same message. It is a message of repentance and faith and love. It is God’s message of Christmas!