FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT
ISAIAH 9:2, MALACHI 3:1
Rev. Ron Robinson
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:2, (KJV) & Malachi 3:1, (UNMC Devotional)
Focus Quote: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.
Advent is our preparation period to focus ourselves on the coming of Christmas, the Incarnation, the spirit becoming flesh, becoming vulnerable, when the Spirit of God became visible in the world through Jesus. It is a time when we enter into the story of how the divine spirit came not to the showy, the wealthy, the powerful, the resourceful, the institutional, not to any place and people where it would be expected by the world. Instead it came to a single poor young woman living in an unknown and unregarded part of the world under occupation by the world's mightiest power. It is about God switching sides, a foreshadowing in the story of the kind of unconventional counter-cultural wisdom Jesus spread through his parables. This is the time when we celebrate and meditate upon how the All-that-Is and the Great Mystery comes to dwell with us, Emmanuel, taking on a finite human face, an earthy experience, the Universal embodied in a particular persona and environment. Incarnation is about the divine fragility, even to a fate ending up on a cross.
And so as we approach the birth of Jesus and the beginning of the church year we also approach the coming darkness of the season in many places among us in the world, and the ending of the year. As we enter our time of contemplation, with Advent as a “Little Lent”, we should also embrace the sense of endings in our life, and open ourselves to that “Life that Maketh All things New.” In so doing we will be overwhelmed this season not by the things we must do, and buy, and accomplish, but overwhelmed by the spirit of abundance that assures us we have enough, of trust and love and security and hope, enough from God, that we share. And that is where the light comes from that shines in the darkness of our lives and families and communities. That is how we become the ones who prepare the way of the Lord.
Reflection from the UNMC Devotional 2008:
Something is coming. Something is coming to us—all of us. We wait with patience, with apprehension, with excitement. Our days of darkness are almost over; our wait for the Light is nearly done. When it comes, will we be ready? Can we hold it in our hands, in our hearts? Something is coming, and we must be ready to enfold it within ourselves inside our mere bodies. It will come and be what we need, when we need it. We will welcome this Light with joy, with laughter, with singing. Something is coming and soon we will see it, but our eyes must be open. Our hearts must be unfastened as never before, so we can see and feel and hear this Wondrous, Great Light. Something is coming.
Prayer from UNMC Devotional:
O God of our longing, Help us to see the Coming. The dark is so deep we can only see a little way. The light is faint. We wait breathlessly. O God, we are so blind. We seek patience and end up with ignorance. Help us now to see the Coming of Light. Amen.