During the season of Advent, Christians read the stories about John the Baptist announcing the advent of the Messiah. Century after century, Christians have reflected on verses about change, like Matthew 3:2, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” About 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist called for change. Sometimes the word is translated “repent.” What does it mean for us to repent today?
I’m guessing that you already know that you need some changes in your life. You and God are probably on the same page. No person knows you better than you. And, no one knows you better than God. You don’t need a preacher to tell you what to do or how to change your life. I think you already know. Some preachers try to make you feel guilty or use manipulative tactics to get you to respond in some preconceived way. Most people are, already, looking for change in their lives.
What type of change do you need this Advent season? I suggest that you listen to that voice deep within. What, inside of you, is calling for change? What do you feel deep in your heart? The change may require you to begin a new journey, an inward journey. I believe that all of us–if we take time to reflect deeply–can find our true self and begin a new journey of genuine change moving toward a more authentic way of living.
John the Baptist was calling people to change. He wasn’t manipulating people. He simply said there were consequences to not changing. He said, “Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives.” A genuine inward journey of faith always leads to an authentic outward journey of service and compassion. Love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable. John the Baptist was saying that the inward journey and the outward journey of service and compassion cannot be separated.
What might change look like for you today? Mother Teresa taught people to change by inviting them to walk A Simple Path.
The Simple Path
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.
I invite you to take time to reflect.
- What do you feel deep within you this Advent season?
- What, inside of you, is calling for change?
- Are you on the simple path? Do you need to take time to be silent? For prayer? Service to others?
- What is the next step on your journey of faith?