Lk 1:55-66,80 What A Life Could Be
Zechariah asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name.”… All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” …The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
I praise you Lord, for I am wonderfully made. You have created me in your image and likeness. You call me son/daughter. I have been given life for eternal life.
Today, we celebrate the Baptist’s birth because his introduction into the world introduced to the world what is, and will always be, our mission and goal in life: conversion to Christ.
A few days ago I had breakfast with a wonderful family. They have two daughters and one son. I hadn’t seen them in a very long time and I was shocked when I saw the boy. His hair had grown long. He was wearing all black. He looked tough and secure. I was shocked to find out that he was neither. In fact, he was very shy and very insecure. I could barely hear him when he spoke. And when he did, he hardly ever looked at me or anyone for that matter.
Not too long ago, most people dressed in a way that expressed their personality. Today, most people dress to make up for what is lacking in their personality. Of course there are exceptions, but the rule rules.
John grew mighty in spirit. So much of who we are depends on how faithful our parents are. So much depends on the obvious. This child, like all children, is wonderfully made (cf. Ps 139). Depending on his parents, he will grow either strong in body and soul or weak in spirit and pitiful in character. The Lord has done his part. Now, we must do our part, or face the consequences.
On Saturday, a Kansas City mother was arrested after her 10-year-old daughter, who weighed only 32 pounds, was found locked in a closet. The girl told detectives that her mother puts her in the closet “a lot”, that she doesn’t get to eat every day and that she “does not want to go back home anymore.”
This little girl could have had a joyful childhood, loving parents, a place to call home, and friends from the neighborhood. She could have had it all: faith, hope and love. Instead, her mother decided to give her hell on earth. And both will pay a dear price for it.
Hear me, O distant peoples. Listen. The Lord called me from birth; from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me. (Is 46:1-3)
I suspect this little girl’s heart has been physically as well as spiritually damaged. What she could have been is exactly what John grew up to be: a man with a heart to go after the Lord’s heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if John grew up in poverty or under not-so-great living conditions. But he did grow up with all that is needed; what every child, wanted or unwanted, deserves: A fighting chance. And he got it.
John grew up in love with the Lord. His family encouraged him to go after the Lord’s heart and he did. He searched for it and he found it. He found Christ.
What, then, will this child be? John grew in his family's shadow and under their wing. And because he grew, he was able to blossom. And blossom he did. He became his own man with his own personality. His name and personality were unique. He lived off of wild honey and locusts. He made the desert his home. His clothes were made from camel hair. He was who he was, and he dressed the part; he dressed what he wished to express.
John’s clothing added volume to his voice. The desert added depth to his message. His simple way of life added much needed honesty and authority to his mission. Everything about him (and everything around him) made him easy to understand, especially by those who could not understand. When John spoke, he spoke in stereo, in 4-D, with heart, mind, body and soul. For what he said required his life, our full attention, and all the help we could get.
His message was a learned lesson. It was not a very warm and/or fuzzy message. It was an essential message. His message was filled with honest-to-God words: Repent! Commit! Simplify! Sacrifice!
These are the requirements for our conversion and that of our children as well. Good Luck on your mission.