December 17, 2018
Scripture Isaiah 11: 1–9
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2 NRSV
The prospect of a Savior was a lifelong expectation for many of the Jewish faithful in Palestine at the time of the birth of Jesus. This longing for justice and righteousness had been described by the prophets, as noted in the scripture lesson from Isaiah above. This event would be a momentous occasion. But, when it came to the world as revealed in the gospels of Luke and Matthew it was an unanticipated event in a very humble setting. This Messiah was not from royalty or the wealthy or from among those with political influence. He came into the world in a far different and unimagined setting in a manger in Bethlehem, the City of David.
What other unexpected events are awaiting us during this special time of the year? Are they already surrounding us? Are we open to sudden and wonderful news that might escape our attention, otherwise? Are we depending only on our culture, our friends, our immediate environment to provide the clues and context for such an event? Or, do we look deeper into our faith and scripture to gain knowledge of the world and insight into our living?
The prophet Isaiah is asking us to think in a new way: to think about the future as if it were present, to act on a promise that is already given and coming true. This is a different type of awareness: one that requires continual replenishment, which is reason enough to gather in worship as a community of faith each week and on special days, such as Christmas Eve!
Advent is that time of preparation. Let us stay the course with prayer, worship, and individual devotional practices as we await the coming of Christ, our Savior, into the world.