Sermon for 3rd Sunday in Advent – Dec. 13, 2020

+ 3rd Sunday in Advent – December 13, 2020 +

Series B: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA


“A Certain Savior”


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Every day and age has its own popular phrases, or clichés. 2020 is no exception. Whether you’re listening to the radio, watching TV, or scrolling through social media you’ll soon be reminded that we live, “in these uncertain times.”


On the one hand, clichés like this drive us crazy. Haven’t we always lived in uncertain times? Well, yes, of course. And while we always live with some degree of uncertainty, in countless, and sometimes personal ways, this year has pushed life’s uncertainties out of our peripheral vision and to us down face to face on a daily basis.


I imagine that for many of us, this year has been, or is a daily wrestling match with countless uncertainties. When will life get back to normal? When will the vaccine be available? Will it be effective? Will it be safe? What about Christmas plans? What will family gatherings look like? What about the economy? Will my business make it? Will I still have a job after the holidays? Will we ever go back to school full-time? What about our congregation? When will we be able to gather together again? To meet for potlucks and bible class? What will life in our congregation look like on the other side of the pandemic?


This year, more than ever, it feels like the blind leading the blind. That what’s unknown is far greater than what’s known. That what’s most predictable is the unpredictable. That what’s most certain is uncertainty.


Holy Scripture has a word for this uncertainty. Darkness. In God’s Word darkness is synonymous with many things: evil and wickedness, death and danger. But also, with uncertainty. We’re in the dark, we say. I imagine, in many ways, that’s where we find ourselves this Advent.


Thankfully, that’s where John’s Gospel begins. In the darkness. The darkness of sin. The darkness of death. The darkness of life in this fallen world. The darkness of uncertainty. And yet, not all is dark. God finds us in the darkness. God seeks us out in the night. God sends his servant John, whose very name means, God is gracious, to bear witness to the gracious dawn of God’s light and life in Jesus.


There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.


Now there’s a word of good news. Light in the darkness. Light is the first thing God spoke into creation in Genesis with a resounding, “Let there be light! And it was so.” Light is the first thing God called good in creation. Light is the first thing God separated from the darkness. Light is the first thing named in creation. Light, in Scripture, is joy, life, salvation, God’s Word, the Gospel, and most of all, the Light is Jesus himself. “God of God, Light of Light” as we confess in the Creed.


Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light no darkness – no uncertainty, no sin, no death – can overcome. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Light is more than the opposite of darkness. Light casts out the darkness.


Into our lives of uncertainty this Advent, John bears witness to the light. He is the one through whom all things were made. He is one with the Father from all eternity. He is the God who is, who was, and who is to come, and yet He came down to you. He illuminates creation by speaking what He hears from the Father. He reveals the depths of sin and death, but also the deeper grace of God. This revelation did not sit well with the people of His day, so they snuffed Him out. But the light eternal would not remain in the darkness of death. Risen from the dead, He shined forth to bring life to all.


John’s witness shines in the darkness and uncertainty of life from the 1st century down to the darkness and uncertainty of life in the 21st century. John proclaimed the coming of the One who knows all the unknowable things we wrestle with; and yet he makes himself known to us in the manger and on the cross. John declared the coming of the One who’s life, death, and resurrection is more certain than all of life’s uncertainties. John bore witness to the One who joins us in the darkness.


Jesus who is Light and life came to be born in the darkness of Bethlehem for you. Jesus, our true Light and Life, who bore all our uncertainties, even our sin and death itself on the cross for you. Jesus, the Light of the world hung in darkness on a Friday afternoon for you.


As He did in the first century, Jesus, the light of the world and the life of humankind, comes into our dark and uncertain times. Jesus washes and cleanses you in the new creation of your Baptism – a holy certainty; you are baptized, beloved, redeemed. Jesus, who is God of God and Light of Light, feeds you his own body and blood – a feast of light and life and joy. Jesus brings you light and life, in the same word that said “Let there be” he now says, “Your sins are forgiven.”


It’s true, in this life there is much we do not know and so much we cannot see. And yet, by God’s grace, through faith, we see Jesus. We see the crucified and resurrected Lord who cleaved the darkness of death for us. And with Him and His gracious promise of deliverance in view, you will endure whatever darkness lies ahead.


As hard and painful and as uncertain and as dark as this life is, even this darkness is temporary. It will not last. It cannot last. For Christ our Light, John insists, is eternal. He is good and gracious. And victorious. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome him. And in Jesus, neither will all the uncertainties and dark days ahead overwhelm you.


No matter what tomorrow holds, no matter what uncertain times we live in, the sure and certain promise of Christ remains. Jesus, the Light has come, and He will come again.


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

By appointment only June and July


2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977