Sunday, December 13, 2020
Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
As we continue our journey through Advent, we spend another Sunday with John the Baptizer preparing ourselves to recognize Jesus when he comes to us. John wants to make sure we don’t miss this awesome event of God coming to be not just among us but one of us, to show us complete and unconditional love. John wants us to know the hope, peace, joy, and love of knowing God.
I remember attending a fancy dinner at my seminary one evening, the purpose of which I forget, but one thing the guest speaker said has stuck with me all these years. She said, “the difference between God and us is that God knows who God is.”
Advent is an invitation to the coming of God into our lives. God’s greatest desire is to be in relationship with us so that we know God and come to know ourselves as God knows us. God doesn’t just wait around; God pursues us, comes to us, meets us where we are and says, “I love you.” Advent is an invitation to know who God is and who we are created to be.
John knows who he (John) is: not the messiah, not a prophet, but the messenger, the ‘preparer’ foretold by the prophets who comes ahead of the Messiah. John doesn’t mind being the messenger because he knows who God is and in his relationship with God he knows who God created and calls him to be.
In last week’s Living Sunday School, I said that John models the true meaning of humility. Humility isn’t lacking self-confidence, it is being so very confident in who we are created to be in God’s Image that we don’t need to prove we are better than everyone else. True humility is knowing that we are infinitely valuable in God’s eyes and letting that be the core of who we are. True humility is being grounded in God’s love.
We expend so much energy seeking to create ourselves in the image of this world. We live to fulfill outward expectations with the right clothes, beauty treatments, cars, houses, decor, jobs, clubs, and, yes, even the right church. At the heart of the matter, I believe, is that we’ve forgotten God’s love for us. We aren’t grounded in God’s love and so we drift (or run furiously) from one thing to another in attempts to find ourselves.
God created us in the Image of Love and the only place we can find our true self, the person we were created to be, is in our relationship with God. When we recognize the one John points to, when we see our Savior and Messiah and seek to know God, we are freed from the struggle of finding our value. In God’s eyes, we are – each and every one of us – a pearl of infinite value, a treasure beyond counting.
As you light your Advent candles today, remember God’s love for you and in remembering you will come to know God and yourself so that you can live confidently and boldly pointing others who have forgotten to the light of God’s love. Together with God we can live on earth as it is in heaven.