Wednesday, November 21, 2012
December 2, 2012
Scriptures for December 2nd: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36 Theme: first Sunday of Advent; Song: O Come, O Come Emmanuel: Jeremiah: During the season of advent, all of the Old Testament lessons point to a promise that God has made to the people. The prophet Jeremiah is talking to a people who have lost everything that has any meaning to them. They have lost their land, their identity, their religion. They are still alive, and yet they feel as if they have died. That is why the prophet used the metaphor of a tree to explain their life as a people. Even when cut down to a stump, the tree is not dead. The roots are still growing underneath. God has plans for the people, in the midst of their appearance of being dead. Out of that stump will come a new branch, that will grow just as strong as the original tree. God promises that their fate and faith will be restored. For us, winter is a time of death of appearances, yet God is working underneath the surface. Our faith in God and its outward expression will be restored, if we are willing to hold on. Luke: The New Testament lesson for advent always shows how the promise has been fulfilled through Jesus Christ. At the beginning of the year, we don’t start at the beginning of the story, we start at the end. The tree which Jesus refers is the fig tree. The fig tree is known for its rich life and its big leaves. Jesus wants those we are disheartened to know that they should not lose faith, because things appear to be dead. He is encouraging them to observe the signs of the times, to know that the end is near, but for the faithful, the end is just a precursor to the beginning of new life in Christ. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. He knows what awaits him, but he also knows what awaits us – if we are willing to endure. The fulfillment of the promise must occur. That is okay. Advent is a time for us to be aware of what God doing. We are to get excited about what is to come – The death, and resurrection of our lives, through the Easter acts of Jesus. Questions: How does life appear to be dead to you right now? How does the church appear to be dead? What must happen for there to be new life? What are the signs of the times that give despair to our faith? What are the signs of the times that give hope? What does it mean for us to endure a time of trouble? What are the things that you do during Advent in order to prepare for Christmas? How do you prepare for Christ?