Have you ever wondered how many people it takes to produce TV programs and news shows? For those of us who do not work in the business, I think we would be surprised at the number of behind-the-scene people who are assisting each person such as a news anchor or a model get ready to appear before an audience. Some of the more obvious team members might include make-up artists, hair stylists, and wardrobe consultants who specialize in preparing each person to face the camera and millions of viewers worldwide. Once these unseen people have completed their work they fade into the background unnoticed by the audience. Their purpose is complete.
This got me thinking about how I could relate to John’s statement that he was willing to “decrease” in attention so that the world’s focus would no longer be on him but on Jesus. I think parenting might be the best example to compare to the relationship between the cousins. Isn’t that what happens between parents and children? We become less as they grow and become more independent from us. John’s parents, Zachariah and Elizabeth, raised their son to the best of their ability while preparing for the eventuality that they would have to shoo him out of their nest to become the messenger of the Messiah as described by the angel. John also understood his role by saying, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said,” (Jn 1:23). Having raised two young women with good morals, ethics and education, I knew that eventually my daughters would leave the security of my home in order to build their own lives. As young adults it was their time to discover who God had created them to be. As their lives increased, my role decreased. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? Even though John’s parents lived during a different time and place, I am confident their desire for their son’s success was the same as mine for my daughters. And like me, Zachariah and Elizabeth likely prayed for their son as I do for my girls, trusting that God would see them through life’s road ahead. The story of John the Baptist is one to celebrate and I think in this Advent season, we should celebrate the courageous John the Baptist who stood boldly proclaiming the coming of the Messiah and joyously stepped aside to let Jesus shine his light to the world.