January 2, 2021
by Beth Samson
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
Lectionary: 205

1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
John 1:19-28

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“I am not the Christ.” These five words, John the Baptist’s first response to those asking who he is, are the simple truth. My response to “I am not the Christ” is Thank God! There is Love greater than mine. There is salvation and hope beyond what I can fathom, beyond what I may feel I deserve.

Like John the Baptist, Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, whose feasts we celebrate today, spent their lives’ work pointing us in the direction of the true God, the Trinity, who, in the relational, dynamic nature as God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, offer us abundant guidance, grace, companionship, Love, and hope. While John recognizes that he is not the Christ, he continues to go out and do good in the name of the One who is to come. This is what I strive to follow in the life and witness of John the Baptist and Saints Basil and Gregory. I am not the Christ, but I have been given gifts, talents, and resources to act in the name of the One who has come and will come again. John was a talented preacher, St. Basil was a talented writer and defender, and St. Gregory quietly encouraged many early Christians to live out their faith. We have countless examples of those that have come before us saying “I am not the Christ, but this is how I will do good work in His name.”

It is January 2, the second day of the new calendar year 2021. New years are often moments of pause and reflection in our lives. So, I invite you to join me in prayer and reflection in the following questions guided by the lives of John, Basil, Gregory, and countless others.

  • What are my gifts, talents, and resources?
  • How is God calling me to use these gifts, talents, and resources in service of others?
  • What do I have to offer to my community that will prepare the way for Christ to come anew into our lives?

Let us pray.

God of community, God of light, we come to you today in gratitude for recognizing both who we are and who we are not. Thank you for the gifts you have given me and the talents and resources I have to use those gifts in service of others. May I strive to live like John the Baptist, Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen – using my gifts to point us in the direction of Jesus Christ. I ask today for the strength, courage, and zeal to do so. Amen.

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