Advent 3 B 2020
John 1:6-8, 19-28
What is the most important light in your house? If you have a cathedral entryway, you might say that the chandelier that hangs from the ceiling that lights up the entry way is the most important light in your house.
Some of you might argue that the light that hangs over the dining table is the most important because its brightness highlights both the food and conversation at the dinner table.
Some of you might mention the light in the closet, or pantry, or some other dark room in the house.
While each of these lights does serve an important purpose, recent studies have indicated that the most important light in the house is the nightlight in the bathroom that enables one to avoid stumbling in the dark when someone gets up in the middle of the night.
The study further stated that the older you are the more apt you are to agree with this study.
Well, regardless of which light one would select to be the most important light in the house, the question does serve to remind us that without light we all would be left in the dark. The concept of light is one that we can easily comprehend and articulate. And that is why the symbol of light is such a powerful image in the Bible.
And because light is such a powerful image, it is no coincidence that the first act of creation is the separation of light from darkness.
In the first chapter in the Book of Genesis, God’s first Words are recorded in verse three which states “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
In the first chapter of Genesis we are told that “Light” is the first creative act of God that He accomplished to bless His creation.
Today the science of biology informs us that light is important to all of us. In fact, light is the essence of life itself. Without light there would be no life. Light, it turns out, is the main source of energy for all living organisms.
But light is much more than that. Recent research indicates that a healthy dose of sunshine can help to control pain. Recent studies have proven that patients whose beds are on the sunny side of the hospital experience less pain than those whose beds are not on the sunny side.
And patients assigned to rooms on the sunny side tend to recover quicker and use fewer pain killers and feel less stressed than those assigned to rooms on the dark side of the hospital.
Light is important. Light is necessary for life. Light is essential for growth and good health. Light is God’s gift to us.
On this, the Third Sunday in the Season of Advent we are told of a man sent by God to point us towards the true light so that all might believe through Him.
When the elite of society went to John the Baptist to ask him who he was, John the Baptist humbly pointed towards Jesus whose sandal strap he insisted he was not worthy to untie. And he referred to himself only as voice out in the wilderness crying out “Make straight the way of the Lord.”
Immediately following our text today, John the Baptist pointed towards Jesus and said “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus Himself proclaimed: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness; but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
My friends, God is here to guide us through the darkness. And what a dark world we live in today. The year 2020 has been like no other. So how can we then navigate through the darkness of all that threatens to take away the life that God intended for us.
The Good News is that God’s Word addresses the darkness. Jesus called Himself “The Light of the Word.”
The Gospel of John tells us “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
Jesus was sent to be the light in the darkness. And scripture informs us that He is a light so bright and so pure that darkness cannot overcome it. Following Jesus, therefore, is the only way to walk in the light.
Unfortunately, darkness is all about us. When I think of life in darkness, I think of worry, fear, sadness, sin, and a lack of joy and peace.
But when I imagine walking in Christ’s light, I find that life is joyful, peaceful, fearless, calm, and full of purpose. The light of Christ exposes all that is wrong; and directs us to the true source of all our blessings.
Just as a nightlight keeps us from stumbling in the dark, the Light of Jesus Christ our Lord guides us towards the future that God has in store for us. The Book of Revelation informs us that one day “Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light” (Revelation 22:5).
This morning John the Baptist points towards the One who is the True Light of the World. May we prepare our hearts, this Advent Season, to receive Him with Joy and Thanksgiving. And may the light of Christ shine in us brightly, bringing light to this dark and dreary world. Amen.
Let us pray: Eternal God, through long generations you prepared a way for the coming of your Son, and by your Spirit you still bring light to illumine our paths. Renew in us faith and hope that we may welcome Christ to rule our thoughts and claim our love, as Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom be glory always. Amen.