The Third Sunday of Advent – Reflection by Canon Leslie


Join us for worship online and read Canon Leslie's blog post for Sunday, 13 December 2020.

Today is the third Sunday of Advent when we light the pink candle that adorns the Advent wreath. The Advent theme of keeping watch, keeping awake, keeping ready for the Lord’s coming is now well established. Last Sunday on the Second Sunday of Advent the Gospel reading from Mark’s Gospel introduced John the Baptist, the messenger, the forerunner, the one who came crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ Last week when we lit the second purple candle on the Advent wreath we thought of John the Baptist stepping out into the limelight to prepare the way for Jesus.

This Sunday, on the third Sunday of Advent, the Gospel reading from John’s Gospel keeps attention on John the Baptist, but today the emphasis is more clearly placed on defining the relationship between John and Jesus. Today John’s message is clear that he is not the Messiah. Moreover, John’s role was not to draw attention to himself, but to draw attention to the one to whom he points. Today as we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath, we think of John stepping back into the shadows, leaving the light to shine on Jesus.

For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited you to focus on the image of making presents. The image reminded us that John’s job was to direct attention away from himself and toward the one who comes after him. This was John’s present to Jesus, as he stepped into the background to bring Jesus into the foreground. In today’s picture, in their book The Present, Teddy Horsley and Betsy Bear wrap the present that they have made with bright ribbon.

Next Sunday, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Gospel theme turns attention to Mary as she prepares for the birth of Jesus. The image to help us prepare for the fourth Sunday of Advent is the Nativity stable. You can find out more about that theme here We would really appreciate you letting us know how you are using these materials. Please send us your ideas and photos of the things you may create; email them to

If you’d like to learn more about Teddy Horsley and his writings, visit his website:, or his page on the website of St. Mary’s Centre:

We warmly invite you to join us in worship online here:

Teddy Horsley and Betsy Bear send their Sunday greetings to all.

Canon Leslie