Dec 15 - Advent #3
The 3rd Week of Advent
December 15, 2018
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. – Isaiah 9:2
John the Baptist was wild. Most Byzantine icons of John the Baptist show him with hair like Medusa. It’s ragged, matted, and it looks like the hair of a man who lives in the wilderness. Some icons depict John holding a platter with his own head foreshadowing the way in which he would die.
His message is a little bit severe too. It can be summed up in the word, “Repent!”
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. - Mark 1:4"
“Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” - Luke 3:8
Of course, severity is called for. To repent is not merely to feel bad about one’s wrongdoing. In an almost literal sense, it means to turn around. To do a 180°. It means to alter one’s course of action. Equally important, it means to alter one’s course of thought. To change one’s mind. To see, think, and feel differently than before.
John is also called the “forerunner”. He is the “Elijah” prophesied by the prophet Malachi. The one who would come and turn the “hearts of the fathers to their children”. He is the one from Isaiah who will “prepare the Way of the Lord”. John goes before Jesus announcing the good and beautiful news of the Kingdom of God.
To see, perceive, or receive the Kingdom requires a change on our part. A new way of thinking, a better way of acting. Both of which are sparked through repentance. Advent is a season of repentance, reflection, and preparation and John the Baptists is one of our guides and companions through it.
Here is the Collect for the 3rd Week of Advent:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.