Why is John the Baptist so important in the story of Christianity? And why is his appearance always connected with Advent and the church’s preparation for Christmas?
John’s appearance marks a dividing line in human history. In a way, he represents the last in a long line of the Old Testament prophets who had foretold the coming of the Messiah. After him, all prophecies of the Old Testament had come to be fulfilled in Christ. With him the old line of prophets comes to an end, and a new line of prophets begins.
For John represents the first of a new kind of prophet in the New Testament, these are men and women who, after having known Christ, are called to testify and witness to Christ’s message through the words they speak and the lives they live.
We are those prophets. Each one of us is heir to what John the Baptist had started. Our lives, our words, and our actions are meant to bear witness to the fact that Christ still comes to our world today, two thousand years after he was born.
Through our lives of faith, we are the John the Baptists of our day and age. And everything we do, from the biggest to the smallest, from the most visible to the most hidden, is meant to remind those who know us and see us, that it is Jesus that we proclaim.