Today the Church celebrates the Nativity of John the Baptist, whom Jesus himself called “the greatest man born of a woman.” (Matthew 11:11). John’s greatness lied in the fact that Jesus was the focus of his life. He drew people to Jesus, not to himself. He is reported as having said, regarding Jesus, “I must decrease. He must increase.” (John 3:30). (The reason we celebrate his birth near the summer solstice is because, in the Northern Hemisphere, from now until Christmas, the days grow shorter in terms of sunlight. Sunlight increases after December 25th).
I believe that one of the most important things we can teach our children as they near adulthood is that the world is not about THEM. It is about something GREATER THAN THEM! And for us Christians, the “GREATER THAN ME” is Jesus and the Kingdom he proclaimed! Life becomes complete when we become co-disciples with Jesus, working to create a more just and peaceful world. We share in Jesus’ joy not by focusing our lives and own pleasure and well-being. Rather, we share in Jesus’ joy by serving him in others, especially those on the margins. It is not “me first”, but “Jesus first”.
Just a few ways we may focus more on Jesus: reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture and spiritual reading; private and community prayer and the celebration of the sacraments; being actively involved in works of service; being attentive to the teaching of our pope and bishops, especially on issues of justice and peace; being well-informed on current events; and by sharing with others our relationship with Jesus and learning from their relationship with Jesus. I am sure you could add a few more practices that would help us to focus less on ourselves, and more on Him!