John the Baptist refused to step into the spotlight. He knew that his divinely gifted mission was to bear witness to the light, not to stand center stage in the spotlight. Every year during the Advent season we are all reminded to take up John’s mission, to announce to a dark and troubled world that the light is coming. “Decking the halls,” Christmas concerts, cookie baking marathons, shopping sprees, fulfilling cherished family traditions of all kinds — these are all wonderful, but they are not the focus of Advent. They are not the source of the light. What we are doing in our lives is not the reason for the season. What we can buy for others is not the heartbeat of our preparation and waiting. What God is preparing to do for the world is the glowing center of Advent.
In the words Dr. Seuss gave to the Grinch after his conversion to the happy ways of the Whos down in Whoville: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas – perhaps – means a little bit more.”
Recently in my part of the woods we had some pretty strong winds. It usually takes a big storm to remind us that we all really have the same “favorite things” — electricity, plumbing and heat. When a big blow shuts off the power and we are suddenly stranded in the dark we immediately go looking for a light. The first to forge out into the dark and finds the flashlight is appreciated, but it is the light itself that everyone craves.This Advent season, bear the light. Don’t be the light. Don’t seek the spotlight. Bear the light. So that Jesus can . . . . "Shine, Jesus, Shine." We don’t need more of the spirit of Christmas. We need more of the Spirit of Christ. May you find the JOY of bearing the light.