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Monday, November 30, 2015

Today’s Reading | Luke 1:5–13 1

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.” (NRSV)

How would the world, our communities, and our lives be different if we were intentional about observing the season of Advent? How would our welcoming of the Christ Child into our hearts be enriched by seeing Advent as a season worthy of the same energy we devote to Thanksgiving and Christmas?

In the above passage Luke is encouraging us to pay attention to the newness and possibility of this season. He helps us hear the ways in which God’s Old Testament promises are revealed in the New Testament. He shows us God’s actions in the lives of his good and faithful servants Elizabeth and Zechariah, and he reveals God’s promise of a new kingdom—a promise set in motion in the seemingly impossible circumstances of the birth of John, who would “prepare the way of the Lord,” Jesus.

On this the second day of the Christian church’s new worship year, let us trust in God’s help to do what may seem impossible. I expect, in doing this, we will find ourselves encircled with a new peace, and understanding of possibilities, that will exceed our human understanding.

Dear God, be my guide, teacher, and strength so that I will understand the possibilities of this Advent season. May I understand, in new ways, your will for my life. May I be prepared and emboldened with an open and trusting heart to welcome the One who will teach me to pray, “Thy will be done.” Amen.

Written by Sylvia Robertson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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