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Monday, December 23, 2013

Today’s Reading | Jeremiah 31:31–34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (NRSV)


At our house, Advent is celebrated by our making each day unique for our two young sons. Each morning, our boys pull a card dedicated to that day from a pocket in the Advent calendar. We plan activities like decorating the tree, baking and sharing Christmas goodies with neighbors, choosing gifts for less fortunate children who may not be able to celebrate the holiday with presents.

Throughout the Advent season, while enthusiastically joining in these meaningful events, our children wait patiently (and sometimes maybe not so patiently) with hope in their hearts for their most anticipated moment of the year, which always happens much too bright and early on Christmas Day. And every year, without fail, they truly believe that their fondest wishes will come true under the tree. They tirelessly write and rewrite lists and letters to jolly old Saint Nick, pour over toy catalogs, and discuss with each other every nuance and possible detail of Santa’s impending visit.

Advent is sort of like that. The anticipation sometimes becomes so great (it doesn’t help that holiday displays start appearing in stores by the end of October!), one starts to live less in the present moment and a little too much in the future, with everything leading up to the birth of baby Jesus. Jeremiah must have known that kind of anticipation, too—waiting for the promise of a new covenant with God. However, his unending faith must also have kept him secure in the knowledge that he would eventually receive the ultimate reward for his patience. Fortunately for us as we celebrate Advent, we worship a God who has already come to be in a relationship with us, through his Son, Jesus Christ. So we practice waiting—waiting to celebrate Christ’s birth—and we carry hope in our hearts as we are reminded of God’s glorious plans for all of creation.


Thank you, God, for keeping your promise to send your Son. Help me to remember your promise to write your new covenant on my heart, and help me to be grateful for a relationship with you that is renewed each day. Amen.

Written by Lara, Tom, Henry, and Jack Ramsey, Fourth Church family

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