"there is a new day coming, a new dawn, a new light"
3rd Sunday of Advent ●
This is a wonderful Gospel this week when we think about the week that we have just left behind. It was a dark week, it never really brightened at any stage, even at midday there was a darkness and then of course when we add the darkness of this pandemic, the lockdown, locked out of our churches, prevented from meeting family and friends it’s most certainly a dark time in our lives and certainly for most of us perhaps the darkest period in living memory.
We have reached the third Sunday of Advent so aware of the darkness and today the Gospel let’s us see the glimmer of light. John the Baptist is our witness today that there is a new day coming, a new dawn, a new light, for us a renewed light. Perhaps this Advent we can be more aware of the true light that Jesus was coming into the world. You see when Jesus came over 2000 years ago the world was also in darkness. Darker than we can even imagine, we are only experiencing darkness in our lifetime. Before Jesus arrived in Bethlehem generations had lived in the darkness, the darkness of not knowing God, the darkness of sin. However, they didn’t know why they were in darkness because they had never seen the light. With the exception of a few peoples most of the human race didn’t know God. Our ancestors lived in that darkness in Ireland.
There have been various ideas as to why the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus was picked. One which I think is very relevant is because of the point that it was in relation to darkness. The 25th of December is at the time of the year, just days after the shortest day when we begin to notice a small change in the amount of daylight that we get. There is an improvement on the amount of light we get every day. Right through until the longest day of the 21st June.
Unlike the generations that didn’t know God and why they lived in darkness we find ourselves in a very different place. We know God, we know Jesus the light of the world. However we are in grave danger of allowing ourselves and future generations to loose the Light of Christ. So much is happening in the world that it looks almost unstoppable to prevent the world from going into complete darkness. This darkness would be unbearable because we know what it has been like to live in the light, we will know the pain of what we have lost. And really this is hell. The devil has been running riot amongst us, we have surrendered so much and so much of it subtly. The Ten Commandments have been made to appear outdated. Everything that is included is happening every day. Murder, blasphemy, stealing, adultery, idolatry. However we don’t recognise these things for what they are. When we say murder, we never think of the baby in the womb that is being aborted. Blasphemy is a word that is no longer understood. It’s a very serious time in the history of humanity and the truth is that something is going to happen. We are on the cusp. Even to our care of the planet we have been given. We could well end up living in physical as well as Spiritual darkness.
The decisions that each of us take in the coming days, weeks and months are going to dictate how our lives and the lives of future generations will be. What we do now at this time when the Light of Christ is being offered to us at Christmas decides how the rest of our earthly lives will be but more importantly will dictate if we will spend our eternal lives in the Light of God or in the darkness that is hell.
Lord help us to always be aware of your light and to make it our life goal to share this light. I am yours. Do with me what you will.
'There stands among you the one coming after me'
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:
a voice that cries in the wilderness:
Make a straight way for the Lord.’
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.