Second Sunday of Advent
December 5, 2021
Every time I strain to read a book, or magazine, or directions, or even a label, I hear my mother’s voice from years past, defying time, and urging me to: Turn on a light, you’re going to ruin your eyes!
I can still hear the note of concern in her voice. She wasn’t scolding me. She was worried about my welfare. And so, I would respond by doing as she suggested. I would turn on a light! And, of course, it was easier to read.
Ironically, today, concerned parents aren’t warning against too little light. Instead, they are cautioning their kids about too much light. The warning these days is about excessive screen time on electronic devices and the potential harm from so-called “blue light.”
Another voice that defies time and continues to speak through the centuries, especially during Advent, is that of John the Baptist. The way he is described in the Gospels has influenced our imagination. Artists, authors, even Hollywood directors portray The Baptist as an off-putting, if not completely frightening figure. We tend to envision him as emerging from some cave, coming down to the shores of the Jordan and raging at the crowds that have gathered to witness a spectacle.
But they did more than simply stand and watch and listen. They did much, much more. They entrusted themselves to him. They permitted themselves to be submerged in the river waters by him. They continued to follow him as his disciples.
So, what was it that attracted people to him?
In my own imagination, I look past the scary figure that the Gospels describe and simply listen to this “other worldly voice” crying out from the wilderness. That powerful and captivating voice delivers a call for conversion and transformation.
In my personal reflection, as I stand on the riverbank listening, I do not feel scolded or even reprimanded. What I hear in this extraordinary voice reverberating through time is concern, compassion, and love.
In my reflection, John the Baptist was drawn out from “the wilderness” by his overwhelming care and concern for humanity. Challenging, not condemning, he invited his listeners, and continues to invite us today to turn away from darkness and walk in the Light…The Light of Christ.
Justifying my reflection is the fact that when Jesus appeared, he stepped aside and redirected his disciples’ attention to The Lord.
So, as we begin this second week of preparation, the question is: Do you have enough Light to see?
Is there enough Light in your mind and your heart to see the straight path that leads through Bethlehem to the Reign of God?
A second question might well be: Are you attracted to the healing and life-giving Light of the Gospel, or have you allowed yourself to be drawn to the “blue light,” which threatens not only your vision, but your spiritual life?
Not to worry. No need to strain your eyes. It’s time to light the second candle on this circle of life and love.
The darkness is receding. The Christ Light is becoming more and more powerful. Draw closer and enjoy a better view of what awaits people of good will.