Word for the Week – Advent
Sunday, December 24, 2017 Fourth Sunday of Advent Introduction
God keeps the promise made to David, to give him an everlasting throne. The angel tells Mary that God will give David’s throne to her son Jesus. She is perplexed by Gabriel’s greeting and by the news of her coming pregnancy, but she is able still to say, “Count me in.” We who know that Jesus is called king only as he is executed still find it a mystery hard to fathom, but with Mary today we hear the news of what God is up to and say, “Count us in.”
Prayer of the Day
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that would obstruct your mercy, that willingly we may bear your redeeming love to all the world, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Instead of David building a house (temple) for the Lord, the Lord promises to establish David’s house (dynasty) forever. Centuries later, after the Babylonian exile, no king sat on the throne. Even then, however, the people of Israel remembered this promise and continued to hope for a king, the messiah, the Lord’s anointed.
Psalm: Luke 1:46b-55
You, Lord, have lifted up the lowly. (Lk. 1:52)
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Paul closes his letter to the Romans by praising God because in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ God has revealed the promised, divine plan of salvation for all humanity. Paul proclaims this gospel of Christ in order to bring about the obedience of faith among all nations.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
In this annunciation, Luke makes clear that God comes with good news for ordinary people (Mary) from littleknown places (Nazareth). This king will not be born to royalty in a palace, but to common folk in a stall. Here Luke highlights the role of the Spirit, a special emphasis in his gospel.
Theme for the Advent season
Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation and a time of diligent preparation. We know that God is coming to us in the birth of Jesus. Salvation is near. Light *is* coming.
Are we ready? How do we prepare for something like this? How do we tend to our own light as we await the Light of the World?
This Advent season we are encouraged to slow down and to be patient while diligently preparing for the coming of Christ. In our frenzy-paced and instant gratification fueled world, these messages may seem incredibly out of place. Our busyness prevents us from slowing down and the chaos and suffering we see and experience in the world make waiting a painful and frustrating process.
Our need for the Light is immediate and our longing for God’s peace and salvation is so great that it is natural to be anxious. In these most desperate and need-filled moments, despite the frenzy and anxiety and fear, we are encouraged to quiet our hearts and minds and trust in God’s promise.
This Advent, may we together be patiently preparing for the birth of Christ in our lives and birth of Light in the world. May we breathe deep and pray often. May we let go of the things that bind us and attempt to distance us from God. May we free our minds from the doubt and guilt that cloud our judgment. May we serve those in need and share God’s Word. And – may we shine our light for others to see as we await the Light of Christ.
December 3 – First Sunday of Advent
So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Corinthians 1:3-9
The new church year begins with a season of waiting. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth is a reminder to us today. As a community of faith- a whole-you are not lacking any spiritual gift. While you wait, it is time to see what ways the gifts of the whole body of Christ can be used to share the good news.
December 10 – Second Sunday of Advent
A voice cries out: “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. ~Isaiah 40:3-4
What is in the way of your path to God? Is it other little gods like money, material items, or distractions? The call is to clear these obstacles from our path and simplify. Think of how straight and smooth your life might be when God is given top priority and the obstacles put into proper perspective.
December 17 – Third Sunday of Advent
He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. ~John 1:7-8
As Christians we work to make sure that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Our Christmas cards and decorations provide a witness to our faith. How can we continue this same witness the rest of the year? How do we steward the good news in the off-season?
December 24 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for you, Lord, have looked with favor on your lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed; ~Luke 1: 46b-48
As faithful stewards, do we answer God’s call to us with a spirit that rejoices? Scripture does not relate a story of Mary telling Gabriel that she needs some time to think about God’s call, weigh the options, see if it fits her own plan. No, even though she is unsure of what this will mean for her future, she says, “here I am.”