Sunday, December 2, 2018

Hope and Goodness

A particular gospel phrase stood out for me this weekend: “Stand upright and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

Advent Wreath: Awaiting the Messiah.
How might we celebrate Advent? Some families create a wreath with four candles, and light one candle at the dinner table during the first week, two the second week, and so on. They pray in their own words for the coming anew of the Messiah into their own lives. Other families make a Jesse or genealogy tree to recapture the story of our salvation in the Hebrew bible. Still others have a Nativity scene and invite family members to tell in their own words the meaning of Christmas, God-with-us, Emmanuel. These are but a few customs.

The word of God carries us back in our imaginations to a prophet named Jeremiah who cited the infidelity of the Hebrews to their promises to God. But God is always faithful. And so Jeremiah spoke about hope: God one day will raise up a new king who will do what is right and good for his people.

Paul in his letter to the Christian community at Thessaloniki in Greece urged them not to so much anticipate the future that they forget how to live here and now. Yes, Paul wrote, care for one another, pray fervently, please God and be ready when the Day of the Lord comes.

The Gospel according to Luke speaks dramatically about signs that will signal the coming of Jesus Christ with great power and glory to transfigure us into the likeness of God.

We gather together in his name before the word of God and around the table of the Lord to hear God’s voice in scripture and to re-experience the sacrificial, life-giving death and glorious resurrection of Jesus. And through this mystery, we re-experience the living Christ who has already made us by grace what Jesus Christ is by nature: sons and daughters of God.

That great news of our faith challenges us this Advent season to look for the good in ourselves, in other people and in everyday situations of life. God is the ultimate good-finder. God so loved us that he became one of us.

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