As we all know, news travels very fast in the age of the Internet. We can send a message to a friend on the other side of the planet in seconds. Athletes and celebrities are learning that they have been hired or fired online. The speed of information is impacting nations and governments. Small protests in the Middle East have morphed into irresistible forces of change.
In our own country, the Occupy (your city here) movement has spread with similar speed although with less dramatic results. It takes cell phones and IPads to launch a movement, and to seize on the collective frustration with politics, financial institutions and public policy. People aren’t just sending checks and wishing the movement well, they are joining it.
It can be difficult to keep up with the speed of information, although this is not entirely a new phenomenon. In today’s Gospel reading we hear of the incredible popularity of John the Baptist, who is preaching in the desert about the coming of the Messiah: “People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized in the Jordan River.”
The good news of Advent is that the One who is coming has the desire and power to transform our lives and our communities.
News seem to be spreading quickly that something important was going on, and we’re told that crowds of people rushed out not just to see what was happening, but to participate. We are called to be similarly prepared to take action in our spiritual communities and in our own lives.
That’s what Advent is all about. John the Baptist calls to us still — to prepare the way of the Lord. The news has travelled throughout the world and through the centuries. The Savior is here, among us, ready to advance his ministry of healing and compassion, and we are called not to just observe this transformation but to be a part of it.
The good news of Advent is that the One who is coming has the desire and power to transform our lives and our communities. He has the power to bring sustained change. This is not a revolution but a conversion. On the other side of God’s work in our lives is not a power vacuum, but the unconditional and unlimited love of God.
So this Advent let us remain alert and ready to embrace the presence of God in Jesus that is always with us, always calling us to deep commitment and conversion.
Bill Peatman writes from Napa. He may be reached at [email protected].