Today, the first Sunday of Advent, I embark on an adventure of writing and sharing daily reflections on the life and story of John the Baptist.
True confession: I have not written any of these reflections yet. Not even tomorrow’s! I have no grand master plan. I just think John the Baptist is an important and underrated person in the biblical story of Jesus, and I think he is worth reflecting on.
What does John the Baptist have to do with Advent? John’s life goal (#lifegoals) was to prepare the way for Jesus. And Advent, a tradition which guides Christian worship in the four(-ish) weeks leading up to Christmas, just means “coming,” or “arrival.”
In Advent, we are waiting for the coming of Christmas―waiting to celebrate Jesus’ arrival, when the God of the universe was born in human flesh, in a stinky animal feeding trough, in a run-down barn, in the middle of our very broken world. And we are waiting for Jesus to come again and make all things new, which we need very desperately.
But (at least at our best) we are not waiting passively. We seek to prepare the way for Jesus―in our lives, our communities, our churches, our cities.
John the Baptist is a bit of a man of mystery, and it would be laughable to claim that I know (or will ever know) everything there is to know about him. This blog is not an attempt at an exhaustive (or exhausting…) commentary on John. It is just a series of haphazard, (hopefully) brief, (hopefully) brutally honest reflections exploring some of the beautiful, compelling, messy, disturbing intersections among John’s life and my life and our lives and our world.