Great characters in history challenge the status quo. Perhaps the most famous examples of this in the last few centuries include: Emmeline Pankhurst, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. The week beginning Sunday, 17th December is the third week in Advent. The Gospel passage this week is the very beginning of John’s Gospel where the focus is on the testimony of John the Baptist. John was an unusual character with an equally challenging message. He was not part of the ‘religious establishment’ and didn’t hesitate to say unpopular things. Indeed this was also the case with most of the Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It would be wrong to think that these were the only prophets of their time; there were many others who said more palatable things. However, the difference is that they were not speaking for God and, as such, they were wrong and their words never ended up in the Bible. This Christmas, perhaps God is calling His Church (i.e. us) to say some challenging things to our world. While the Church is often happy to talk about justice, we seldom talk about judgement – which is an indispensable part of justice and a key advent theme. While God is pure love, He is also the God of judgement. If we don’t heed the warning of John the Baptist and repent and confess, then the wrath of God remains on us. If, on the other hand, we do turn to God, confess and proclaim Jesus then we have the enormous privilege of joining John the Baptist in being people calling out in the wilderness: “Make straight the way for the Lord.” Perhaps we are called to be the new ‘history makers’.