December can be a crazy time of year. The semester is winding down and school is starting to get old. Winter sports are gearing up. The days are short and the nights long.
In the North, the breathtaking cold creates a feeling of vulnerability. There always seems to be too much to do and not enough time to get it done. Pre-Christmas advertising hits fever pitch, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed — or just tune out Christmas until we have time to think about it.
Advent is the Church’s antidote to the craziness of the season. Advent reminds us to slow down, take a deep breath, and find a quiet space in our lives. Advent invites us to join the shepherds on the hills of Bethlehem — BEFORE the angels arrived.
There they were, camped out under the stars — no televisions, no radios, no cell phones, no teachers, no coaches, no deadlines. Just a handful of people and flocks of woolly animals, dozing in utter darkness.
John the Baptist’s words remind us to reflect on who we are and how we are prophets to one another.
In the Old Testament a prophet speaks for God to the king and people. A prophet speaks and acts publicly, putting his or her life on the line to deliver a message people and their leaders don’t always want to hear. Usually the message includes a call to be faithful to God and care for the poor.
In Jesus’ time and today a prophet sees, judges, and acts and urges hearers to do the same.
Put your faith in action by brainstorming a list of modern-day prophets: musicians, teachers, scientists, politicians. Write your own rap or poem expressing your feelings and dreams about being who you are. Perform them for your group. Encourage your family or friends to simplify Christmas gift giving this year. Make a donation to an organization that helps those with fewer resources.