John emerges from the rustic dessert to point his entire being into the direction of the Kingdom of God. He challenges our ears with his mighty words, our attitudes with his deeds and our souls with his conviction.
This image of John speaks to us about this own self-emptying, his life living in the wild to explore his connection to Jesus, the Messiah. Our paths must be straight ahead, our voices strong in proclaiming the coming of God, our lives centered only on the life God is giving us. John, the radical prophetic witness of the New Testament, models for us the life we are called to lead. Our hearts, energy and conviction must be centered on the coming of his cousin, Christ Jesus.
John the Baptist challenges our notions of Advent preparation. These days are not cozy and nostalgic, not designed for self-gain or self-focus, but how God is striving to break into lives that need forgiveness and hope. We are to point into the direction of God for those who hunger for the basics of life, for those who cannot survive their reality alone and for people who need the tenderness of mercy.