You and I may never be canonized as saints. Our life may just be a bit too wild for that but it does not mean that we cannot do saintly things. No one person is all bad. Even if we feel more bad than good, more distanced from God, there is something inside that keeps tugging at us towards being good. “A voice cries out in the wilderness”. And surprisingly, a lot of spiritual value can be tapped from our wild side. There is good in everything, even in bad.
Christmas is coming. How so? Advent is the waiting and the preparation. For the many of us not saintly perfect, Advent is the time to make the small corrections, to try to come out from the wilderness and return a bit closer to God to a more meaningful faith life.
As part of our preparation, it would be good to reflect on where we are in our faith life. Speak to family and friends and we will discover people at different points in their faith life. Some will be in the wonder of an oasis while others are wandering in the desert. What will be common though is that everyone would have at some point experience their faith life in the wilderness, a period of time distanced from God.
People today seek God but lose him when they cannot find him relevant to their life. Information alone is no longer enough to convince. People now relate better to real life experiences. There is great value in our life stories especially if we were once distanced from God but have since moved closer to him. Our journey out of our own spiritual wilderness is a powerful tool to impact the life of others. Often it shows real tangible proof of God’s hand in the many happenings in our life.
For many of us lost in the spiritual wilderness, we cannot see the hand of God on our own. But we can relate and be fuller on hope when we hear from someone who had been down the exact same path and ended up with a richer and more meaningful faith life. For many of us, it is in the desert where we re-discover our God and come away stronger for that experience.
This is where spiritual value can be tapped from our wild side. Here, the sharing of our stories is a simple act with gigantic, saintly proportion. When we share the reality of our vulnerabilities and how we re-discovered God in our brokenness, we share God in the reality of our life actively tugging us closer to him especially so when we were lost in the wilderness. We share a God relevant to life.
By simply sharing we effectively, “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight”. Our stories open up this path for many to return to a closer relationship with God; to see God very relevant in daily life. This is the saintly thing we can do, to be a ‘John the Baptist” to someone we know.
There is no teaching involved. By sharing our faith life, however rich or poor it may be, we allow the Spirit of Christmas to work, to make Christ be born again in the lives of those who are in the wilderness. It is true that you and I are “not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals” but you and I can make straight for each other the path to return to know Christ in this earthly life. Let us be that instrument tugging at others. You and I can be as saintly as John the Baptist this Advent simply by telling our faith story.
2nd Sunday of Advent