St John the Baptist Witnesses to Christ

Jan van Eyck - The Ghent Altarpiece - St John the Baptist (detail) - WGA07634
Jan van Eyck – The Ghent Altarpiece (1425-9) St John the Baptist (detail) St Bavo Cathedral, Ghent

St John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets, had to insist to his interrogators that he was not the Christ and that he was profoundly unworthy in comparison with the one who was coming. Finally, having encountered Our Lord and baptised Him, St John was able to give witness that He was the Son of God.

This witness is set before us in various ways in the sacred Liturgy for Advent and Christmas. We chant that truth springs from the earth, and justice looks down from heaven, a verse that is used by the Fathers to refer to the union of the divine and human natures of Christ in one person. Our carols sing of the one who came down from heaven who is God and Lord of us all. Finally, we acclaim the living Word, eternally begotten of the Father, the Word who is indeed God, who has now been made flesh and “made his tent” among us.

To celebrate Christmas properly requires of us a living faith in the Christ as God made man. If we are truly convinced of this, we will become His disciples, follow Him at any cost and place Him before all other things in our lives.