thanks to Pr. Weedon for this:
It is significant that John's birth is recorded as having taken place when the days began to grow shorter, while the Lord was born as they grew longer. It was John himself who explained the meaning of this contrast when the crowd thought he was the Christ because of his great virtues, and the Lord was considered by some as only a prophet and not the Christ because of his lack of austerity. "He must increase," said John, "while I must decrease."