Aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist was a perfect model for us, as followers of Christ. In his humility, he did not try to make himself an important person and so he simply told them: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord.”
Preparing the way of the Lord was the primordial mission of St. John. He was confident that he was on the right mission, and, in this mission, we are all sharers. He preached, “There is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
One important aspect in John’s life was his focus on his mission. It was clear to him that his mission was to make straight the way of the Lord. At the very outset, he knew that “he must decrease while Christ must increase.”
This is also the reason why we are here on earth. But sometimes we tend to walk down the road, which leads us away from the goal instead of getting close to it. This Christmas celebration calls each one of us to imitate the life of St. John, especially in his efforts to prepare the way of the Lord. Sad to say that sometimes, we are not even conscious of the fact that this is a special time of the year. We are preparing all the things that must be present during Christmas, but I am not sure if we are preparing our very self for the worthy acceptance of the Child in the manger in our lives.
We can be so busy with a lot of things that pertain to the celebration of Christmas, but we lose sight of our goal, that is, to make ready the way of the Lord. That way of the Lord is nothing else but the way wherein he could walk on just to be able to reach us, be present in us, be alive in us and, thereby, bear much fruit in us. The acceptance of Jesus in our lives entails a lot more things to consider than by just simply accepting Him. He must have a place in our lives, His presence in our life must be seen by the way we live, and that presence must bear fruit in us.
The fruit of this presence will make us able to give more of ourselves to our beloved ones not only in terms of financial and material things, but more so of our time and our whole being. As parents, sometimes we think that we are fulfilling our duties as parents when we can give our families a decent home, a quality education, if we can supply them with the latest gadgets, and fill their pockets with money. But we are missing the point by just merely doing these things, because they need not only those things, but our presence and attention.
Most of you have families to feed and children to send to school and that is precisely the reason why you are making a lot of sacrifices. Maybe you deserve a medal of appreciation for sacrificing a lot for their sake but, sometimes we have to stop and listen to the words which they may have never uttered, the words which says that they want our presence more than anything else, and they want to feel the warmth of our love for them physically, truly, and with a love that is really alive.
What we try to do is to substitute that love with the money that we can give. This false belief explains the fact that sometimes we are caught off-guard to learn that the little boy whom we used to put to sleep in our arms is now a grown-up filled with piercings and tattoos all over his body. The little girl whom we used to hear the high-pitched cry when she was a baby is now a lady with her hair colored like a rainbow, and is now having a baby by herself, with an unknown father. Then you will suddenly realize that money is not all there is to it.
Parenting is a gift, and this gift must be cherished every day. Appreciating this gift can only be shown if, as parents, we are able to watch our children as they grow up. And as they grow up, we are likewise being challenged to be the best parents that we can be, morally at least, because we know that our children are looking up to us and we are their models and idols.
My dear friends, let us, like St. John the Baptist, make straight the way of the Lord starting with our own families! At least, let us make an extra effort to relate to them during this season of love. Love is something that cannot be bought nor can be substituted, so let us make them feel that love in our own ways of showing it.
Have a Blessed Advent Season!