Third Week in Advent Gospel Reflection

The person of John the Baptist brings us another step closer to what we celebrate at Christmas. Jews from Jerusalem were sent to John to find out who he was. They were forthright in their questioning: “Who are you?” They initially thought that he was the Christ. But he denied that. After a few more questions, they finally asked, “What do you have to say for yourself?” He quotes the prophet Isaiah: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord.” Their final question was: “Why do you baptize?” He says that he baptizes with water but that one in coming after him who is greater than him.

In this Gospel John invites us to ask ourselves the question: “Who am I?” John knew that he was not the Christ, but that he was the one who pointed others to Christ by preparing them through baptism. As we move through the last part of Advent, our challenge is how we point ourselves and others to Christ. Let me suggest two ways in the form of questions: 1) How do we keep our focus on Christ in the midst of the hectic nature of this season? It is by being more reflective about what we do. Why am I sending Christmas cards? Why am I choosing this special gift for someone I love? Why am I attending this party? Why are looking forward to celebrating Christmas as a family? Underneath these questions is the fact that we are doing these thing to grow in a deeper awareness that we are celebrating the birth of Christ. 2) How do we greet one another during the Christmas season? Our greeting to others can help us to keep the right focus on what we are remembering this season. Is our greeting “Merry Christmas” getting substituted with “Happy Holidays?” If one believes in Christ, maybe we decorate a Christmas tree, attend a Christmas party or invite others to our Christmas open house.

If we know and believe who we are, we can “keep Christ in Christmas.”