The only reason we could find for this is Paul’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Prior to his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus power, feeling important, having good contacts with important people, being seen as a perfect Pharisee were the only things that mattered for him. Then, after that episode, things changed. For Paul, all that stuff became like rubbish, as he himself declared, when compared to knowing Jesus. Jesus had told us that all he wanted for us was, “that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” From experience, Paul says today that Jesus is faithful. He kept his word. Like St Paul we all have our problems in life. That’s human nature, life with its ups and downs. However, unlike St Paul, instead of rejoicing and giving thanks, we often grumble and complain. Let’s face it, whether you believe or not, problems are not going to change. If there is sickness, an unexpected death, a loss of a job, an injustice occurred, faith is not going to change it. What can change is how you live through that certain situation or negative experience.
This year’s Christmas is not going to be like any other before it. Yet, it’s good to remember that Jesus’ Christmas was much worse than the one you’re going to celebrate. It was a celebration of a lonely family far from known relatives and acquaintances, a story of rejection and of extreme poverty. And yet, the theme of its background music was a hymn of glory to God and peace for us.
In today’s gospel we meet again John the Baptist. In spite of his greatness and the praise poured upon him by Jesus himself, he declares that he is just a voice. Whatever is spoken by him, the tone itself of what is said, is not decided by him but by the speaker himself, who is God. John is happy to be his true self, without pretending to be what he is not or taking the praise that is not his. Maybe one mistake that we often do in our lives is that of trying to do God’s work, to be our own little gods. We want to decide what’s right or wrong, what’s good or bad for us. John helps us to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus for who he really is – the one and only God. It is only through Him and in Him that we can find our happiness and peace.
Let us make space for His coming in our lives during this Advent. Far from the usual noise of Christmases past, may this year’s celebration of Christmas truly bring joy and peace to each and everyone of us.