December 12, 2021, Advent 3, Dcn Helen Harris, guest speaker

1
The Third Sunday of Advent
Luke 3: 7-18
Last week, we heard of a young teenager who was
given a gun for a Christmas gift from his parents. Another tragic school
shooting occurred by him killing 4 young classmates, leaving several others
in serious condition with this senseless act.
We wonder when all the hate and violence will end in the world and when it
ever be normal again.
This year there are families not looking forward to Christmas. There is
sadness and problems during the holidays when we are overcome with
memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. Many people are
struggling paying bills, putting food on the table, health struggles, job issues,
and affording gas for their vehicles. Many are alone and don’t have large
families to spend these times with, they just want to know that someone
cares.
Some ask themselves whether to even put-up Christmas decorations as there is a
dark shadow over our days with the predictions seeming to be getting worse
rather than better.2
No matter what is taking place in the world, there is something to celebrate this
year, the of birth Jesus. Today is the third Sunday of Advent, a time of sharing
the good news of the coming birth of our Lord and Savior.
The season of Advent is a season of reflection and preparation that directs our
hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming and the anniversary of Our Lord’s
birth on Christmas.
The real reason for the season is to keep our eyes and minds focused on God.
We need to hear His words of assurance, confidence, faithfulness and hope for
a new world.
John the Baptist came offering baptism with water saying the one who comes
after him, who’s sandals he was not worthy to untie, comes with baptism of the
gift of the Holy Spirit. We have the presence of Jesus by receiving Him
through our repentance, our renewal of life and by doing God’s will.
Repentance means a change in the purpose and direction of our lives, filled
with joyful expectation that the Messiah is coming near. John tells us to
prepare our hearts to receive our Messiah.
Happiness comes from doing good for others faithfully, sharing our blessings
with others in need. We aren’t asked to give up everything we have, but only to
share, visit a sick neighbor, share a meal and practice active love and kindness.3
He calls upon us to show compassion to the poor and help those in need
through prayer and generosity, especially at this time of year. We display
ourselves to our “finest,” refined expressions of truth, love, compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Jesus is Lord bringing salvation and peace. God came to earth in the form of
Jesus to restore our loving relationship with him now and for all eternity. He
turned the world upside down giving dignity to the poor. He came to give hope
to the hopeless, peace to those whose hearts are in turmoil, and love to those
who are broken.
We are invited to prepare to greet the One who is “the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation,” through whom “all
things were created.”
The birth of Jesus offers new life and hope to a sin-filled world.
When we talk to God and He talks back to us, we understand the true meaning
of the words of the Christmas carol, “Joy to the World.” We begin to
experience true joy.
“The Lord is come, let earth receive her King.”
Amen.

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