Daily Archives: December 11, 2021

Evening Prayer: December 11th

Glorious and Loving God, thank you for the assurance of life everlasting with you in the company of your people in glory. The war is won, and you are the victor! May I rest  in the assurance of your final victory and eternal life. In joy and wonder we greeted the new day. Now we entrust all that we have done or thought or spoken in it to you. May it help build your realm of peace. Grant us your rest this night. In the blessed name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: Isaiah 41:13-20

Christmas Bibles

Isaiah 41:13-20 (ESV)

13 For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”

14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
    you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
    your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
    new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
    and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
    in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

17 When the poor and needy seek water,
    and there is none,
    and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
    I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
    and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
    and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
    the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
    the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
    may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Thoughts to Ponder from Luke 7:20-23

Luke 7:20-23 (ESV)

20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

One aspect of Advent, in fact one of the predominant aspects of Advent, is that it is a season of waiting. We wait for Christmas Eve or Day, that day in which we Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus – God in the midst of us in the form of flesh: a baby. The other aspect is that we are waiting for the second coming of Jesus because we know that there is still another part of our story to be played out.

We are not the first to wait. In fact, as we look at this passage in Luke, it can be implied that the people of God had been waiting for a long time for God to do something special. They had been waiting for their salvation and their redemption. They had been longing for the day when God would restore their nation and set them free from the yoke of oppression from foreign powers.

Understand, there was no shortage of self-proclaimed Messiahs in Israel’s history. In fact, more often than not, when a self-proclaimed messiah would rise up, things did not end up well – more often than not, the result was bloodshed. Then the yoke would become heavier for the people of Israel.

People were waiting and when a messiah would rise up – there would always be the question – “Is this the one? Is this the one that God promised who would finally bring restoration and peace?” So in context, this question by John was not an unusual question. It was, as they say today, legit.

To answer John’s question, Jesus doesn’t use words first. He takes action. Then after he completes the action, he sends this response to John: “…the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.”

There are two things worth mentioning about this that will help us better understand Advent.

First, where the people were looking for a Warrior King – much like David, Jesus showed what the new Kingdom of God would be like. It would not be a kingdom won by blood…at least not the blood of war. Yes, it would be a kingdom won of blood but it would be innocent blood…the very blood of Jesus. During Advent, there is a reversal of the powers of the world. Advent reminds us that God’s Kingdom is a kingdom about life from death. It is about the restoration of those who are oppressed. It is a kingdom of justice for those the rest of the world looks down upon. When we are caught up in this time of the year…do we realize the oppressed? Do we seek justice for those who are afflicted and downtrodden? We are a very self-absorbed nation, and the fact is – there is no room for that in the Kingdom of God. God has come to set the captives free.

Second, this is not an event that is still to come – it is one that has already arrived. Though we wait for the second coming – this kingdom has already begun. Yes, we need to be diligent and ready for the kingdom yet to come. But we also need to be diligent in living out the kingdom while we wait. We are to follow the example of Jesus the Christ – we are to love with all we are and serve those around us. Maybe Advent should be less about a season of waiting and more about a season of doing – of caring, of reaching out, of loving EVEN the most unlovable…following the example that Jesus gives us in Luke’s Gospel today.