All I Really Need To Know About Advent I Learned from John the Baptist

Most of what I really need to know about Advent (and Christmas for that matter), I didn’t learn from gazing at Nativity scenes. The Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and the three wise men taught me very little about how to live, what to do, and how to be the best Christmas version of me. No, any Advent wisdom I learned didn’t come from Bethlehem or Nazareth. The truth is you don’t stand a chance to learn about Christmas by standing in an overcrowded stable. All I really needed to know about Advent I learned from a homeless man living by the Jordan River. His name was John.

• Everyone is on the naughty list
• Christmas is never the clean, antiseptic, well-mannered holiday you expect
• Jesus’ arrival ought to make everyone uncomfortable
• Holy People and Nativity Scene Aficionados should be the most nervous
• If the baby in the manger doesn’t challenge you, you’re in the wrong stable
• Water can only make you so clean
• If you’re constantly listening to Andy Williams or Mariah Carey you’re not hearing the Holy Spirit
• The system is rigged
• Truth telling will get you killed
• Advent and Christmas aren’t about conveying some magic formula of words
• It’s ok to wander around in the wilderness. Everything starts in the middle of nowhere.
• The Jesus story starts with crying out in the wilderness and ends with crying on the cross
• As such, happiness is overrated