THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT

What do we really need?
The theme for this third week of Advent is joy. Ever since I realized that, I have been going around whistling the
song that our 8:30 children’s choir sings. “There will be joy joy! joy ! Joy! …..in the morning on that day. People
at work are used to me walking the halls singing some song or another.
The Gospel reading this week points us to Jesus through the witness of John the Baptist. John the Baptist baptizes
with water but there is one coming after Him who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. This appears multiple times in
the Bible. Last week in our Gospel, we heard the first six verses of the first chapter in the Gospel of Mark. It is
worth noting that if we read the next two verses, we would hear, “After me is coming someone who is more powerful
than me…I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” When the time had
come, John led his own disciples to Jesus and indicated to them the Messiah, the True Light, and the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world. John, himself, was not the light. He came to testify to the light. He didn’t
spend time thinking about his shadow. He just allowed the light to shine on Him.
Ultimately isn’t joy exactly what John the Baptist is pointing us too when he points us to Jesus? A relationship with
God, through a life in Christ is the absolute true joy of our existence. Even our creation by God was out of joy and a
desire to be in relationship with us. Joy is at the centre of Christian life, even through the struggles of everyday life.
We hear a lot at this time of year about what we want, especially for Christmas. However, what gift that we receive
will bring us ultimate joy? Don’t get me wrong, I love giving and receiving gifts at Christmas time, it is a wonderful
tradition. To experience real joy this Advent and Christmas, I feel we need to think about what it is that we need,
not what we want. What is coming between us and God at this time in our lives? What is impeding us from living
in the light of Christ? What is hurting our relationships with others? Now is the time to remove these barriers in our
lives so Jesus can flow through us, and we can point others to Jesus, just like John the Baptist, so we can cry out and
make straight the path to Jesus. Let’s share that joy this Advent and Christmas just like our children’s choir who
sings with such joy. We will feel it on the Christmas morning, but also throughout our lives.
God bless you all, Deacon Dan MacDonald