Advent III Sermon 2020

By Deacon Virginia Jenkins-Whatley

Sermon December 13, 2020

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.
In the Webster’s dictionary, “patience” is described
as able to accept or tolerate delays, problems or
suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
“Be patient, your time will come.”
COVID is one of the most deadliest if not the
deadliest disease that has struck our country and
the world. We have been confined to our homes
and life as we have lived it has changed
tremendously. Despite the immediate change in
life, family, work and play we have been forced to
learn about patience.
Today is the third Sunday of the Advent season. We
have learned these past two Sundays about being
prepared, holding vigil, waiting and watching for the
coming of our Lord Jesus. He is to come at first for
his birth and then again for his second coming. We

may be surprised how taking a moment, waiting,
and being patient may help in our preparation.
The thought of Jesus’ coming at Christmas brings
joy and excitement with thoughts of family and
celebration . And we cannot wait! The thought of
Jesus’ coming to judge us, on the other hand, can
bring a fair amount of anxiety. For that we could
wait many life times.
Preparation for Christmas offers honest delight.
However due to COVID changes, we rely on
memories from before. Hope for the good times to
come again. Preparation for the second coming
offers a whole different preparation. It is about
living our lives as faithful covenant people,
following God’s commandments, loving one
another, praying and being penitent. Sometimes
patience and waiting seem to have no place in
In the gospel reading this morning we learn who
knows. There was a man sent from God whose

name was John. He came as a witness to testify to
the light, so that all might believe through him. He
himself was not the light, but he came to testify to
the light.
Our excitement for this season of Advent is
building, but we are not being asked to return to an
old life, we are being called to an alternative life, a
new one, to a new place, a place of hope and
expectation. “Something’s coming,”
Last Sunday, John was identified for us in Mark’s
gospel as a baptizer. This Sunday, in John’s gospel,
his role has changed. Here John is to be a witness to
Jesus. Through John’s witness, the world will come
to know the presence of God in Jesus. Through
John’s witness, the world will come to know the
presence of the light to the world. The light in the
ancient world was a symbol for recognizing God and
life everlasting. In the New Testament, the light is
Christ, the light of the world who calls us out of
darkness into his marvelous light.

The good news this Christmas season is this
marvelous light has already entered into many of
us. Here, in our heart and soul, we have received
the light of Christ. Our entry point to this truth is
our baptism.
Baptizing babies, all dressed in white, doesn’t
appear to be so life changing on the surface.
Without it, however, we are lost to a world of
darkness. John warns us, “I am the voice of one
crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way
of the Lord.” Here is a clear and powerful critic of
our lost world of darkness and sin. John’s voice is
crying out to tell where he is and where we are also.
It is from our wilderness of sin that we are to make
straight the way of the Lord. Our baptism becomes
our entry way to making our life straight, making an
alternative lifestyle.
Our conversion to this new life will only be
successful through the steady, patient, intentional,
prayerful, and worship filled new life that we

Christians testify will draw us closer to Jesus and
indeed make us safe and joyous. That alternative
life is one grounded by scripture and enacted
through the tradition of the church. We have both
at hand here with us this morning.
The preparation we face today is one of living and
practicing this new life by remembering the
baptismal light that is alive in our very soul, then
living as if this truth makes a difference. Every step
we take in our preparation for the coming of the
Lord is a step toward a life dedicated to our new life
as an apostle, as a disciple, as one who loves Jesus
more than life itself. Every step we take in our
preparation, in our ministry, as beloved followers of
Jesus Christ, is a step to improve our baptism by
living with increasing hope, faith, purpose and
commitment to honor our calling as children of
God’s Spirit will work where it will and accomplish
its purposes. But often what stands in our way is

our own impatience and our belief that the Spirit in
us cannot be stirred and that we cannot be opened
to new possibilities. When we hide our disbeliefs
and deny our impatience, we find ourselves
committed to the wilderness without the grace to
rethink our position.
It is vital and necessary that we have this Advent
season. It is our time to prepare ourselves for a life
with Christ. Isaiah 61:9 states that, “We are truly
the people whom the Lord has blessed. We are
blessed by God’s presence, by God’s intervention in
our lives, by God’s grace and love given to a people
who often fail to recognize it.”
John tells us that the One for whom we wait often
stands unrecognized. He often appears in
unexpected places and acts in surprising,
mysterious unexpected ways. What then are the
things that prevent us from recognizing this
miracle? If it is our hectic, busy lifestyles perhaps
then we may need to slow down. Being patient

should be enough to make us open our eyes to see
the miracle before us.
Indeed, something great is coming, something
beyond our wildest expectation is coming. These
days, we pray that it doesn’t get any worse.
The message of John is “maybe today!” And this is a
message worth waiting patiently for; this is a
message worth our preparation. Someone great is
coming, his name is Jesus.