Love Your Neighbor (John 1:6-8)

John the Baptist is the culmination of a long history of prophets, whose love for their own people often sounded strange and harsh. They are a voice of confrontation, conviction, and correction—hardly a voice that blends nicely into a choir singing Christmas carols. Their consistent mission was to re-focus and re-align, calling the people of God back to the core of who they are. They arrive to get us back on track and prepare us for what is coming. For the prophets, this especially means that we kill our idols and care for the helpless in society. For Israel, it was the widows, orphans, and immigrants. Who are they in our own life and community?

During Advent as we await the final coming of Christ, we inherit John's work of announcing and preparing the way. We are called to recover this prophetic voice—"to show everyone where to look, who to believe in”—not in condescending condemnation but in urgent invitation. We are also called to listen to this prophetic voice by abandoning our self-centered gods and sentimental traditions to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. This holiday season is a time to make straight the way of the Lord by doing justice for those in need.

As we remembered in prayer on Monday, we ourselves are not the light; we shine Christ’s light, as the moon reflects the sun. Our lanterns are lit with his fire. Any truth, hope, compassion, or generosity that we show to others this season is not our own. We simply share and show the way to the source, "pointing out the way to the Life-Light.” With that humility of heart, let us open our hands to extend the same light of service, forgiveness, and generosity that Christ has shed on us.

Questions or discussion? Click here to comment.

Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Connecting With Our World Through Outreach

About the Author

Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC.