As we light the first candle on the Advent wreath and open the first window on the Advent calendar, we turn our focus to watching and waiting, expectancy and hope. As we await the coming of the Messiah, we remember that the season of Advent is not simply about readying ourselves for the observances of Christmas but about setting aside time to prepare our hearts and lives to receive the gift that comes to us in the stable. We open ourselves to see the light of the infant lying in the manger and embrace what it means to travel through life guided by the light that darkness cannot overcome. On this Advent journey, we invite you to join with us in using these devotions, written by members of our church family reflecting on the lectionary texts for Sundays, for a daily time of reflection and prayer, and we wish you all the blessings of this season, as together we sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David;
and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.
And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
Promises, promises…we all make them, keep them, and break them. During Sunday worship in Advent we will be reflecting on God’s promises—promises that are always fulfilled, never broken. Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparation, a time of reflection…and also a time of run-up to a major holiday event, with feasts and family and all the drama those entail…and also a time of constant bombardment to buy more, spend more, be more.
Into that tension comes the word of the Lord—a word that promises, a word that promises something new will come, a word that promises something new will come and bring justice and right relationship. This promise of newness in the midst of the old, of life springing up where death reigned, of relationships made whole even as we have come to depend on the brokenness—this is the promise of Advent waiting. If only we can see, God will continue to do a new thing, even a shocking thing! That branch from the line of David was meant to be a warrior king, but God is always re-forming God’s people and so sent us a baby instead. Righteousness is supposed to be something to work toward, a badge of honor one can earn, but God is always doing surprising things and so has brought right-relationship into our midst, given it freely, and told us we can’t earn it, only live into it…relationship with a person, with The One who not only shows the way but IS the way.
This promise is true, and God’s word can be trusted. In this season of Advent, let us wait and watch and work together to see what God is doing in our midst even now.
God of promise, your word comes in places I least expect it. Help me to be open to your movement in my life this Advent season. Amen.
–may the Spirit move through the words of Rev. Teri Peterson