John 1:6-8 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
This is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the Sunday historically called Gaudate, Rejoice, this is the Sunday we light the pink candle, as we remember the promise of God, our Advent gladness, the coming of a Savior, who will take away our sins. This week we spend, once again, with John the Baptist - the difference is that last week, we were with John the prophet, preparing the way of the Lord though Baptism, this week is with John, witness to the light of the world.
There are a lot of people who don't understand, that to be a witness to the light of the world, is more than just pointing and saying look. You see the world is in darkness, and even if you did say look, they wouldn't know where you were pointing. But its worse than that, the world is so used to darkness, that it doesn't even know it needs the light. Its not that they can see in the darkness, rather they have become accustomed to stumbling and running into things and falling.
This is why the first job John has as a witness to the light, is to explain who needs the light,
Do you stumble and fall, do you walk into walls, do you have trouble finding doors, do you loose your way, do you wonder about the meaning of life - if any of these things happens to you, you are experiencing the darkness of sin, and you need the light of the world. Does everything look like shadows, do you have trouble seeing clearly, is everything shades of gray - then you need the light of the world. Are you afraid of death, are you afraid of your enemies, does it seem everyone is out to get you, are you terrified of standing before God as your judge - then you need the light of the world, the Savior, who takes away the sins of the world, who makes us a new creation, who gives us peace with God and everlasting life.
How did John know these things? God gave him the words, that what God does for the people God calls. But its not that hard, we all have a story we could tell, of how we were lost in the darkness, and how there seemed no way out, but then Jesus came, he brought us to the light, he took away our darkness, and it was a whole new world that we saw.
Its as though we were blind but now we see. Once deaf, now we hear. Once lame, now we walk. Once dumb and now we sing for joy. Once dead, and now we are alive in Christ, because there is a light of the world, and our Savior has had mercy on us and taken away all our sins.
This week we meet John, and see how he combated temptation, the temptation to spend all our time talking about ourselves. People came to John, and the said tell us, who are you, and why do you do the things you do? But John didn't talk about himself, except to say, I'm not the one who is important, I'm only someone preparing the way - the light of the world is coming, the promised Savior, the one who takes away the sin of the world. What's important, its not me, itís the Savior.
John came as a witness, that people might have hope, and believe, and rejoice that the Savior is coming. All the problems we face, all the troubles we've seen, the light of the world, the Savior, Jesus Christ is the answer and the hope and the promise. That's what's important, Jesus.
And so we too rejoice as we remember, and as we tell the old old story of Jesus and his love, because he is the light of the world, he has taken away all our sins, he is the heart of Christmas, but that should be obvious to anyone, that a Christmas without Christ is only a mess. So we too are witnesses to our Advent hope, the joy of the coming Savior, who is the light of the world.