Readings for the 3rd Sunday in Advent
Matthew 11:2-15; James 5:7-11; Isaiah 35:1-10
The biblical theme for this Sunday is joy, symbolized by a pink candle on the Advent wreath. But that doesn’t mean everyone is feeling joyful. In fact, it’s at this time of year that many people are experiencing extra amounts of stress along with all the problems that come with it – anxiety attacks, depression, marriage problems and substance abuse (to name just a few).
God understands this disconnect very well, and our readings for Sunday address it. John the Baptist (himself a prophet of great faith) sounds disappointed and disillusioned in asking of Jesus, “Are you the one, or shall we look for another?” Salvation had arrived to earth, but its power and glory did not look the way John expected (Matt 11).
Isaiah had long ago prophesied one visible sign of Messiah’s coming – healing miracles and the restoration of life in desolate places. These were being fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus (Is 35).
In the epistle reading, James urges Christians to remain patient and steadfast in our faith as we await the return of our Messiah Jesus on the Last Day. We should not grumble against one another, but practice the same compassion and mercy with one another that God has shown to us (James 5).