When I was a kid learning about John the Baptist, we learned that he wasn’t really a Baptist, though my mom secretly wished he was, being Baptist herself. We learned that he worn burlap bags, because that was the roughest fabric we had. And we learned that he ate locusts and wild honey, which was excitingly gross for kids.
I mean, who eats locusts and wild honey? (This was back in the sixties. We ate Spaghetti-o’s and Sugar Pops. The more processed the food was, the better.)
Now, his diet doesn’t seem very odd. It’s normal eating for most of the world (The insect part even has a name on Wikipedia: Entomophagy.) And wild honey, unprocessed honey, natural honey. John could be a patron saint for eating local.
I’m thinking about John and Advent. Advent is about cultivating a sense of expectation instead of a sense of acquisition, about anticipating the Christ more than anything. And John was all about anticipating the Christ. He was the voice in the wilderness. He was calling for repentance. He was completely focused on preparing the way for the Lord, preaching good news. And when you are anticipating something important and you have work to do, you don’t worry too much about meals. You eat what’s available.
I’m not sure that we are called to meals of crunchy protein and natural sweetener. The heart of John’s message was not his menu. But we are given the menu to remind us that he lived a life in complete contrast to the people who were coming to see his show.
I think we are invited to follow the direction that John was pointing. We are prompted by John’s words to consider a life-consuming commitment to hope and repentance. And to eat whatever God provides along the way.
Sometime during this Advent season, I invite you to consider diapers for Advent.