Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!
“Christ is near,” we hear it say.
“Cast away the works of darkness,
All you children of the day!”
(LSB 345 st. 1)
“A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’”
John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” when he came “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3-4). A call to repentance, however, always assumes the hearers have something of which they need to repent. To “cast away the works of darkness” is to recognize ourselves as utterly unworthy of standing before God due to the sinful thoughts, words, and deeds that flow out of the darkened hearts of our sinful nature; but we who are children of the day (that is, we who trust in the promises of God) are made worthy. When John the Baptist declared “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, he was proclaiming that it is through this man, Jesus of Nazareth, that the obstacles to God are removed. For it is in the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ for our works of darkness that the glory of the Lord has been revealed.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help us to dwell on the fact that “Christ is near” to us in Your Word and Sacraments, and that by grace through faith in Him, we are Your “children of the day.” Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Written by Zachary A. Courie, Sem IV)