John 1: 6-8, 19-28
In the Gospel reading for today, we are told about another identity and another role as the prep to keep preparing the way of the Lord who comes to us.
Yes, John was a witness, sent by God to testify to “the light.” His role was to recognize the true light when it appears, and to call attention to it so that others may recognize it and believe it.
I believe John’s role as a witness bothered the religious authorities. So, the religious authorities came to question John like a prosecutor. They wanted John to say who he was, but all John said was who he was not.
John was not Elijah. He was not the prophet-like-Moses awaited by Israel. He was neither the light nor the Word. However, he knew what his job was, testifying to the one who was those things. John had a healthy self-knowledge about his limitations, the gap between the person he announced and the person he was.
Until Jesus started his public ministry, John’s life was one long advent. Even in the wilderness, even without a proper title for himself, even without a license to do this, and even without a proper name for the coming one, John pointed to the Christ, prepared the way of the Lord, and testified to the true light.
I believe today’s passage challenges us as to do as John did and to use every chance to point to the light that dispels every darkness, especially perhaps, a seemingly unusual Christmas in 2020.
Are we doing well as witnesses by proclaiming and pointing to the One for whom we testify, even at this moment which may appear to have no end in sight for a pandemic?
Can we testify that 2020 is a year for reminding us how the world interconnects as one planet?
Can we testify to the true light that comes from spending time with God while we are in lock-down, a time to re-balance our lives, and give it meaning and purpose?
Can we testify that 2020 is a year for talking about the gift of family relationships, and friendships, but more especially the gift of being loved into relationship with God?
Can we testify that 2020 is a year for rejoicing in what we already have rather than hope to get as we count our blessings?
Our role in our time is, like John’s role in his time, to confess who we are not and to keep pointing to Jesus, the one who has come and who is coming to us even now.
Let’s keep bearing witness to the light of Christ even if Christmas cheer may seem darker this year. Let’s keep pointing to Jesus even if some Christmas traditions have had to go this year.
Let’s keep making a voice of hope, peace, and joy crying out in the wilderness of the twenty-first century. Amen.