On this Third Sunday of Advent, it is more a case of John the Baptist introducing himself rather than the introduction of John the Baptist to us. John the Baptist announces his mission as a ‘voice that cries in the wilderness’. The voice is solitary and the wilderness is vast. It could be a description of 2017 as much as the year of the birth of Jesus. How does that voice reach our live, our hearts, our parish, our community and our society in 2017? The voice of John is authentic; it is not about himself but about announcing Jesus Christ. He puts himself second and his mission first. While his announcement may not have been welcome, his authenticity cannot be denied or overlooked. Surely this authenticity is needed of all those who announce Jesus Christ today? Secondly his message is relevant to the listeners. Surely that also is a requirement for 2017. It is an ‘existential’ message which is real to the lives of the listeners. That too is good guidance to those who announce Jesus Christ and the listeners. Authenticity and relevance reach through the centuries and ensure that we can hear and experience the presence of God in the newborn infant Jesus this year. As we light the third candle on our Advent wreath today, may the light of joy be authentic and relevant to all our lives.