What John the Baptist teaches us about Advent
In the Gospel reading for Sunday, John the Baptist is on the scene, fully draped in his camel hair clothes and fancy leather belt.
He’s yelling out to anyone in the vicinity to get ready — someone great coming. He’s telling people to work on what they need to work on and not go through the daily motions. There are some religious leaders who come to be baptized and John can tell they have no idea what is coming.
He calls them out on it.
Whenever I read this text, I think of the movie version of Godspell. John the Baptist shows up looking like he spent a few too many days at Woodstock and leads a song called “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.”
His message is so urgent! He is so excited, he is so pumped, because he knows this Jesus person is about to show up!
That excitement jumps into the people around him. Happiness and joy are flowing everywhere. They’re crashing around in a big water fountain! Splish-splash!
It would be very hard to be present in that space and not feel inspired by this energy.
I love the way this Bible story is portrayed because these people know something big is coming. They know something good about to happen and things will never be the same.
Would you believe the same joy and hope that John the Baptist exudes here happens in our world all the time?
Whenever a group of people come together and make a change in the community, that joy is in the world!
Whenever we help our neighbors in need, that joy is in the world!
Whenever we take the opportunity to see the best in someone, that joy is in the world!
Jesus came into the world like John the Baptist said and changed everything. Jesus showed everyone how to live together in community! He showed everyone how to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
And when we follow his example — when we strive to be like Jesus — the world can’t help but become full of the joy and excitement that we see in that Godspell scene.
So during this Advent season, let us take heart and be filled with holy urgency about what can happen in this world! And then let us take part in that wonderful beloved community that Jesus teaches us how to create!
So laugh! Be filled with joy!