I imagine him to be a perfectionist. His Greek is the most refined of all four Evangelists. He notices small details about matters, such as Jesus’ sweat in Gethsemane becoming “like drops of blood.” Then there is the testimony of St. Paul that he was a doctor (Col. 4:14). Some commentators hold that he was Our Lady’s doctor, based on information he gives us that only she would know. Author Taylor Caldwell calls him a “Dear and Glorious Physician” in her novel of that title. I refer to St. Luke. His gospel is my favorite, and that ranks him high on my list of people I hope to meet in heaven, presuming I get there.
In today’s excerpt from Luke, Chapter three, I always conjure up the feel of a drum roll as I read his precise list of “who was who” in the list of rulers active at the time that the Word of God comes to John the Baptist. Thus began the quiet revolution that ultimately changed the world. Up until then, the world was controlled by the forces of the evil one, imprisoned in a dungeon of despair. Heaven’s gates were locked shut due to sin.
The proclamation of John was about to set the world spinning in a different direction. God’s plan is to be set in motion. His divine Son is about to exit His three decades of voluntary seclusion.
John, the last prophet of the Old Testament and the first of the New, reaches back to claim Isaiah’s words as his own description as “a voice crying out in the desert.” His preaching urges anyone who hears him to “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.” What a confident announcement! People could only wonder “Is this the end of our long wait for redemption and relief?”
All of this brings you and me to Advent 2021. It is the season for us to recall those four centuries Israel waited for her Redeemer. An opportunity to fast before the feast. To do a little penance as our prep for the Feast of Christmas as we do it more intensely during Lent as prep for Easter.
Advent and Christmas will find us this year still suffering from the effects of the gray ghost of Covid hovering over us. Yes, we still live in a politically divided country. We are members of a weakened Church from various scandals. Obviously we need this Advent season to uplift us. To regain a Faith perspective that reminds us that “this too shall pass.”
May I humbly suggest that we take new notice during the next few weeks of little details in life that St. Luke the doctor and evangelist did? The gifts of family and friends that are with us all year? The anticipation of children counting off the days before Christmas? The smile on the face of a supermarket cashier? The frost on the pumpkin? The satisfaction of a good football win? The unexpected Christmas card? The making of a conscience-clearing confession?
Here’s one more detail that rings true for many of us that I found: “One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present.” God love you and give you His Advent peace.