Roughly six months before we celebrate the nativity of Christ, our Church honors the coming of one of his most precious companions, the Glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist.
John’s conception in itself was miraculous, an event that could have never occurred in the absence of divine intervention. Born to Elizabeth and Zacharias, a couple who had accepted that bearing a child was out of their reach, John represented the glory that was to come through Christ, the promise of eternal life made manifest in the form of the Savior.
The birth of this Holy Prophet transcended the laws of science and reason, foreshadowing the promise of eternal life and redefining what it means to die.
From the moment he encountered Christ, John was overflowing with immeasurable joy as he sensed his Savior was near, leaping in Elizabeth’s womb as both babies were waiting to be born.
After entering this world, John dedicated his life to bearing witness to the coming light, dying to all things earthly and embracing the gifts of God the Father. He sparked a new faith and hope in the hearts and minds of those who would hear and submit themselves to rebirth through baptism and repentence.
Applying John’s Legacy to Our Lives
John’s mission stands in such stark contrast to where many of us find ourselves today. Narcissism in itself has risen to a form of religion in its own right, with many people of all faiths clamoring to capture and share and advertise photos of themselves, their opinions, their preferences and dislikes. And almost all of us take part in this journey toward self-aggrandizement, whether to prop up ourselves or certain particular causes, claiming as much light and attention as possible in exchange for a type of love that will make us feel worthy and safe and wanted and treasured.
But John sought none of these comforts from his work, instead choosing to live the life of an ascetic as he proclaimed the coming of Christ. At the apex of his work was the moment when Christ himself sought John on the shore of the Jordan River. Christ was searching for this man who would baptize him, the Lamb of God.
In his awe and with his humble spirit, John resisted and insisted that it be Christ who baptized him. Living to honor his Lord and savior, he was prepared to decrease his presence as a leader of the faithful so that Christ may increase as the Logos.
26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”—John 3: 26-30
Let us all endeavor to commit our lives and words and hearts to sharing the truth and love of Christ in His honor, living by John’s example and rededicating our intentions again and again. May we receive joy and fullness in this work, resisting the temptation to congratulate ourselves as we are blessed to move further towards our Father. The journey, the peace and the opportunity to seek truth by honoring Him are our reward.