Our gospel reading for this weekend is all about a voice in the wilderness. The voice we hear from the wilderness is John the Baptist, who came before Jesus as the lords herald. John tells us that there is one coming after him and that he is the son of God and that he was not good enough to take the sandals of his feet. He also tells us that we should make the paths straight for the lord. So are we making the paths straight for the lord as we try to make sense of all the ongoing razzmatazz or are we going to go with the flow, just too busy with all the secular preparations that this time of year brings to really take notice of the importance of the preparation that John the Baptist talks about? John the Baptist came to reawaken the sense of expectation among a people that had grown tired and distant from God as many have done in our present time. John was called to bring renewal to the institutional expressions of religion which, at the time, had so often become fossilized into mere formulae or external ritual.
As the journey of Advent continues we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Jesus, John the Baptist’s clarion call to conversion sounds out in our communities. As we continue our preparations for the razzmatazz of Christmas let us not forget the true and lasting message of Christmas that has lasted for over 2,000 years and the message is that God came among us. All of us are asked to take up the Baptists call of renewal to prepare the way for the Lord. This is the call to reawaken within ourselves the fact that Jesus is god with us Emmanuel who will be heard and seen through us in the Joy we give to others and the Joy that is there in our own hearts. Christianity is a religion of anticipation and joy. We await the coming of the Lord in glory. We also wait for that joyful time that is the Christmas season, a time of happiness and peace. The Church in every age must become like John the Baptist, an uncomfortable reminder of how we must allow the truth of Jesus to break into our lives to enlighten the darkness that can at any moment enter into the life of the Church or our own lives .
Remember that the words of Jesus in the Gospel are there to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. At the beginning of this piece I began with the voice of John the Baptist out there in the wilderness. For many people out there in the wilderness the voice of Jesus means very little as they go about their daily lives. We are called to reawaken within ourselves and others the great spirit of expectant waiting as we wait on the Christmas feast. So are we making the paths straight for the lord or are we just going to go with the flow a taking little or no notice of the importance of the preparation that John the Baptist talks about that is the spiritual preparation of our hearts and minds for the great spiritual event that Christmas is.