Really, John?

Advent is upon us this coming Sunday and if there is one person who is the poster child for Advent it is John the Baptist.  

But this year I’m not sure I’ve got much patience for John.  Just being honest.  

I mean, there is so much shouting going on in our country today.  There is so much frustration at this continuing pandemic.  There is so much injustice that continues to claw its way forward.

John can sound like just one more angry, shouting person telling us the world is awful and we’re not good enough.  Merry Christmas.  Really, John?

That’s not really a message that I’m feeling this year (or any year, come to think of it). 

The world is tired.  We’re all tired.  We’re ready for something new.  And that something new is hard to hear from someone like John.  

Still, there he is in the lectionary.  All decked out in his camel’s hair outfit with the leather belt; eating his not-so-vegan diet.

So what are we to do with him?  

The good news is that the word “Advent” is just what we are looking for: the end of one thing and the start of something new.

A new thing is on the way and it will far outshine the chaos and despair too many are feeling.  And that new thing is the renewed, restored, reconfigured, re-energized presence of love in the world.

But here’s the thing: So many of us are so tired, so weary of the way things are right now that we are on the verge of drifting off to sleep.  And if that happens, we will miss the miracle altogether.

Maybe that’s where John comes in.  Maybe he’s valuable this year after all.  Maybe he’s kind of like an alarm clock that scares the heck out of you when it goes off but let’s you know that the night is over and the day is here.  

It’s time to get ready for the day; the new day!  A quiet John the Baptist might just lull you off to sleep completely.  

So shout away, John.  Shout away from the pages of history and tell us once again to “Prepare!”  Tell us to wake up already and grab onto the good that is on the way.

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,  

For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!”

We are a weary world, but a thrill of hope is coming.  

Advent is here and Christmas is on the way!

See you in church,

–Rev. Dominic