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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Today’s Reading | Jeremiah 23:3–4

Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. (NRSV)

The season of watching and waiting is upon us, and we have begun to make preparations for receiving the joyous gift that will come to us. Jeremiah’s words help us to remember the far-stretching themes that have pointed toward that bright morning star for so many generations. It is a promise, God’s promise, for which we wait. But where do we fit in? Where is our story contained in God’s story? 

As we prepare a place to receive the Christ child, we are ever more aware of where this gift will meet us this year. The words are within our text for today:  we can feel like a remnant of ourselves, driven out, straying from the course of life God intends for us. Just like the Israelites who have been in exile, we know the feeling of disconnection and detachment. 

This Christmas story only finds its full meaning when we can embrace it for ourselves, when we can see ourselves in God’s story for God’s people throughout time, when we can hear the Lord speaking to us through the prophet Jeremiah that wherever we may find ourselves this day, early in the season of Advent, God meets us and, like a shepherd, God brings us back to the fold, where the intention for us is to bear fruit, to multiply that which we have been given, to the glory of God.  

The prophet’s words are for you:  “I will raise you up, and you shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed.”

God of the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and saints, open my heart in this holy season to receive your timeless words and to trust that you intend the same wholeness and well-being for me as you do for all your people throughout the world, as you have for all the generations. Receive my gratitude for the promise of such a heritage and your never-ending grace. Amen.

Written by Ali Trowbridge, Former Associate Pastor for Congregational Care

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