Many of us tend to define ourselves by what we do – our jobs and careers, our roles in our families and communities, our accomplishments. In today’s scripture we hear a different way to define ourselves – maybe the best way.
We hear Isaiah identify himself as anointed by God, and filled with God’s Spirit (Isaiah 61: 1-11). We hear Mary proclaim herself as blessed by God and the beneficiary of “great things” (Luke 1: 46-54). And in today’s gospel, when asked “who are you?”, we hear John the Baptist simply identify himself as “one who cries out in the desert to make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1: 6-28).
Isaiah, Mary, and John all define themselves in relation to their God, and how God lives and works in them. All three are compelled to proclaim their joy in how God touches their lives. All three feel the need to proclaim God’s goodness and love so that others might be drawn near also.
And it is the same for us.
Rather than defining ourselves by what we do or what we achieve, we might define ourselves by who we are. And maybe the most important aspect of who we are is our identity in relation to our loving God.
Like Isaiah, Mary, and John, we can reflect on how we are anointed children of God, chosen, blessed, and recipients of great things. We can reflect on how God touches us and works in us every day of our lives.
And like Isaiah, Mary, and John, confident in who we truly are – beloved children of God – we then go out into the world and proclaim God’s goodness, helping others to see God in their lives, helping others to draw near.
So as Christmas approaches and we ready ourselves once more to celebrate the gift of Jesus, we continue forward on our journey. We walk with Isaiah helping to bring “glad tidings” to anyone who needs lifting up. We walk with Mary, helping others to see God’s “promise of mercy”. And we walk with John, helping others to “make straight” the path for God.