Devotional for the Third Sunday in Advent, December 17, 2017, based upon John 1: 6-8, 19-28

“He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.”  (John 1: 8)

I have read that the Gospel writer John refers to Jesus as the light of the world no fewer than twenty-one times.  No wonder the star shone so brightly over Bethlehem.  No wonder our Christmas trees and our homes are decorated with hundreds of lights.  No wonder we light more Advent candles the closer we come to Christmas.  Light is what Christmas is all about.  Advent is a celebration of light coming into our very dark world.

When John wrote his Gospel, the world was in darkness, just like our world is in darkness today.  John wanted the world to know that a light had come that had penetrated the darkness.  Jesus is the light of the world.  That is good news for this Third Sunday in Advent.

The light of Jesus never stops shining.  Through wars and famine, through fire and flood, through all sorts of natural disasters, through good times as well as through bad, the light continues to shine.  Our parents and grandparents saw its glow in the darkest days of the depression.  Soldiers have seen it on distant battlefields.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

The darkness of the world cannot extinguish the light of Christ.  It shines in hospital rooms and in funeral homes.  It shines in the midst of poverty, unemployment, hunger, despair, disease, death, and every other kind of heartache, hardship, or setback that you could ever imagine.  It shines in every one of the dark and discouraging situations that you have ever had to deal with.  Nothing can keep it from shining.

The greatest privilege in the world is to share that light with someone else.  “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” the song says.  John the Baptist was not the light, just like we are not the light.  His job was to bear witness to the light.  And that is our job as well.

The best gift to give someone who is in darkness is the gift of light.  That is our calling as followers of Jesus.  To let His light shine in us and through us.  To light up the world around us.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”  That’s what each one of us needs to do this coming week – this coming Christmas season.  Let the light of Christ shine through you.


Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE