You can see all the lectionary readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of John.
This week will be a little different, because on this week I did the homily for our church’s family service. I am going to put most of that homily here, but I’m also going to link to the source of the ideas for that homily, which is a really wonderful blog called Worshiping With Children. It is great advice for how to lead a service like the one I was speaking in, which is full of young families. I relied so heavily on it because I found out I needed to preach at 11pm the night before, because our rector was ill. I figured the blog is meant for such use, so hopefully the cribbing in that instance is ok. These are my notes for the homily (which I then broke down more simply on to a few notecards and ad libbed a bit more from those).
What do we know about John the Baptist?
- John was Jesus’ cousin
- John’s clothes and food–wearing clothes of camel’s hair, living on locusts and wild honey
- John told his followers they were doing wrong and needed to change
- John baptized people who came to hear him and wanted to change
- John promised that someone important was coming from God and he was just pointing toward him
- John baptized Jesus
John the Baptist was the first to point people to Jesus.
I need two volunteers to help illustrate John and Jesus. (I had two little girls who volunteered.)
- Pose the baptism of Jesus first.
- Then, pose John pointing to Jesus.
- He was the first to point to Jesus, but many others did, too. The shepherds who saw the baby Jesus in the stable on Christmas, the Samaritan woman at the well, people he healed, the women who saw the empty tomb. (As I was speaking this part I had an awkward moment as it hit me that the shepherds actually pointed to Jesus before John–this is what happens when you have little prep time.)
- We can point to Jesus, too.
John knew who he was and who he was not.
- He wasn’t the Messiah or Elijah (people asked him if he was both of those).
- He was simply to prepare people for Jesus.
- Part of our job in life is to figure out who we are and who we are not.
- When one of my sons says, “All the other kids are…” I tell them he isn’t all the other kids. He is his own wonderful self. He is a child of God. As are you.