Advent Door 14: I am not, Therefore I am

The Advent Door Reading Plan
Day 14 Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28

Scripture Summary: The authorities ask John the Baptist to identify himself. He says who is isn’t and then says who he is. 

John the Baptist’s claiming of Isaiah’s words to describe himself places him firmly in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets. He knows he comes from Elizabeth and from Zechariah, but with his answer he places himself in the lineage of those for whom the wilderness, both literal and metaphorical, was home, their place of formation as messengers of God. John’s response to his questioners is not only a way of saying who he is, but also where—and whom—he has come from.
– Jan Richardson, Through the Advent Door

It is not the question, what am I going to be when I grow up;
you should ask the question, who am I going to be when I grow up.
– Goldie Hawn

I heard an English teacher once say that there is really only one story line and that every story ever written is a variation of this one theme- Who am I? Romeo and Juliet, Ulysses, The Great Gatsby, Les Misérables, The Lord of the Rings, Moby Dick, To Kill a Mockingbird… this is the universal story, our search for meaning and identity.

On the way to discovering who I am, I discover who I am not. This process of elimination is not failure, but focus. Close enough doors and only a few remain. In a world of far too many choices, there is peace to be found in knowing we are not all things, nor must we strive to be so. Our uniqueness is a gift. What I am comes alongside what you are and forms a greater whole. What we are comes alongside who God is and forms all that is needed for us and for the world.

May you know the One who made you
And thus know yourself
Soaring in your strength and gifts
Joining with others for healing and provision
At peace with who you are and who you are not
Assured of your beauty and worth

Be Still, Remember
a hymn for reaffirming the baptismal covenant
Suggested Tune- ONE BREAD, ONE BODY (United Methodist Hymnal #620)

Be still, remember, who you are.
Come touch the water
of your birth.
Be dead to sin, alive to God.
Remember who you are in Jesus.

You are beloved.
You are an heir.
You are a child of God.

You are claimed.
You are marked.
You are named by God.

Chosen and blessed
Gifted by God
Witness through word and deed

Be Still, Remember © 2000 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.
Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to music.

This year’s Advent reflections are inspired by the e-book Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas [Kindle Edition] by author and artist Jan Richardson. In the style of a classic Advent calendar, Jan offers twenty five reflections, each with an original piece of art. Consider this your invitation to join me and Jan on this journey to Christmas. – Lisa <><

For more information on the Christian season of Advent, click here

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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