About the Beer: Tonight’s libation comes to us from O’so Brewing Company located in Plover, WI. Their mission is to create wild and delicious beers that Wisconsin has never seen, and to use almost entirely Wisconsin grown ingredients in the process. Tonight’s wild beer is Infectious Groove, a Kettle-Sour Blonde Ale that resembles a tart Berliner Weisse. It is refreshingly tart with a lightly dry finish, and checking in at only 3.9% ABV this is our “weakest” beer of the calendar. For more information on O’so Brewing Company, check out their website: osobrewing.com
Advent Reflection: We focused earlier this week on a devotion about the importance of John the Baptist. Tonight’s reflection is another devotion focusing on John. It is adapted from a Christianity Today Advent devotional booklet.
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John…He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” – John 1:6, 8
“More than any other biblical character, John the Baptist embodies the spirit of Advent. This was a man whose lifework was to prepare the way for Christ’s coming by bearing witness to him. One might think intimate ties to the Messiah somehow prepared John for this starring role in the church calendar. He was a relative of the Lord, marked out as special from the beginning. He greeted the Savior from the womb and was foretold by the prophets. John was an important man from a family of spiritual influence. Perhaps this suited him for service as “witness to the light” (John 1:8).
Yet the portrait of him the Gospel of John pays little attention to these factors. Difference and distance from God, more than family ties and proximity, are its focus. True, John the Baptist was sent from God to be a witness to the light. But this did not require that he match the greatness of the One he represented. The gospel writer emphasizes just the reverse: “He himself was not the light” (v. 8). John the Baptist dims in comparison with Christ, “the true light that gives light” to all (v. 9). For all his noteworthy qualifications, John merely reflected the radiance of the Lord.
This contrast comes through as well in Isaiah 40, which points toward the “voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God'” (v. 3). Someone regal is about to arrive. But, like a page running before an approaching sovereign, the one announcing the monarch’s advent need not be royalty. In fact, the messenger’s relative insignificance only lends urgency to the message: “GET READY FOR THE KING!” John the Baptist’s motto was: I must decrease and he must increase (John 3:30).
It can be easy to despair of or qualifications for testifying to Christ. But the Gospel of John reminds us that we don’t need to be perfect, particularly “special” by human standards, or part of some exclusive spiritual club to bear witness effectively. Acknowledging our own limitations — that we are different from the glorious One who Advent we are proclaiming — only throws Christ’s glory into greater relief. Night has fallen. Our world needs true Light. – Han-Luen Kantzer Komline