In those days John the Baptist appeared preaching in the desert of Judea (and) saying, “Repent, for the kingdom if heaven is at hand!” –Matthew 3:1-2
John the Baptist first appeared in a unique place; the desert wilderness. There were few people in the desert, but he began preaching there anyway. There is a great symbolism in this. It shows that the preaching in the Temple and synagogues was ineffective. God had to send someone outside of the religious establishment to prepare the way for his Son.
The austere place of the wilderness stood as a sign of John’s radical service to God. He lived without any comforts. Throughout the scriptures, the wilderness is a place that God accomplishes his greatest work in people and prepares them to make a great impact.
In the desert, John the Baptist had a very specific message to help point people toward the light: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Repent means a change of thinking that leads to a change of heart that results in a change of action or direction. John challenges people to change their direction and turn back to God because he is near.
God has placed you in a specific location to bring his message to a certain group of people. Your life can be the light that helps someone change direction back toward God. Pray for God to give you the names of people he wants you to be a light for and move in his direction.
(Excerpt from Messages of Light for Advent and Christmas – Three-minute Devotions By: Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran)