Sometimes we think that if we work hard enough, we can solve every problem and fix every issue. Even if we don’t believe this, often enough we act as though we do. We try to help our spouse, family members, and friends, assuming that if they listen to our advice or follow our example, everything will be fine. In other words, we act as though we are Christ, the Messiah, the one who brings salvation to all.

In the Gospel, John the Baptist gives us a wonderful reminder, “I am not the Messiah.” I cannot save others from all their problems, nor can I even save myself. So, how is this good news?

Like John the Baptist, we are not Christ. Yet, like John, we can use our words and our actions to bear witness to the love of Christ. We can proclaim God-with-us by sharing our love and life with others, by working for justice in a world plagued with injustice, and by doing all that we can do and letting go of what only God can do.

During this Christmas season, we remember and celebrate that Christ has come into the world and dwells among us. Our role is to bear witness to this great love which comes not from ourselves but from God.

—Thomas Bambrick, S.J., is a Jesuit scholastic in First Studies, studying philosophy at Fordham University, New York.