figures and symbols of the “First Covenant.”
He announces him
through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in
Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim
expectation of this coming.
St. John the Baptist
is the Lord’s immediate precursor or
forerunner, sent to prepare his way.
“Prophet of the Most High,”
John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.
inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb wel-
comes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the
bridegroom,” whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes
away the sin of the world.”
Going before Jesus “in the spirit and
power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by
his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
When the Church celebrates
the liturgy of Advent
she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by
sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the
faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.
celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church
unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must de
The Christmas mystery
Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.
Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this
poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest.
The Church never
tires of singing the glory of this night:
The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
And the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!
1:76; cf. 7:26;
of Romanos the Melodist.