As I was pondering the upcoming Christmas season and all that it brings, I thought back to a recent incident with a classmate of mine. A group of us were working on a project when we noticed that one of our members was wearing bluetooth headphones. We hadn’t noticed before because of her long hair. When we asked her about it, she assured us that she could always hear us, but she was incapable of being productive without music or a podcast of some sort in her headphones. She needed noise input in order to feel normal. I realized that this very situation is a microcosm of our entire world.
We live in a world and an age that is fighting desperately for our ear and our attention. There is noise coming at us from every angle—this world is screaming for our attention. All of this is amplified by a factor of ten during the holiday season and we expect it. In fact we feel lost without it. But for the Church there is another voice that we desperately need to give our attention to. Another voice that should define us during this season.
That voice is that of John the Baptist in John 1:23: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” Earlier in the chapter the author tells us that John the Baptist “came as a witness to testify concerning that light (Jesus), so that through him all might believe.” John is urging us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. It is vital for us as the church to listen to John’s voice as he testifies to the Messiah.
Advent is a season for us to quiet the noise of the world as we remember and reflect on the gift of Jesus, the Light of the World, and prepare our hearts to be transformed by what he has done. We are called to represent Jesus in the world and, as John the Baptist testified to his first coming, wait expectantly and testify to his final coming. So this year let’s turn down the noise and quiet the voices screaming in our ears as we listen to God as he transforms our world by making us a people who listen to, retell, and live the story of Jesus.