Lectionary Readings for today
AM – Psalm 16, Psalm 17; PM – Psalm 22
Amos 5:1-17; Jude 1-16; Matthew 22:1-14
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! The Lord has come! The Lord is coming again!
Advent is a joyful season, full of anticipation and expectation of something wonderful that God has already done for us. He has already come. He has already given us eternal life. And, He has promised to come to us again. Advent was originally focused on the second coming of Christ rather than on His birth. But now it combines the joy and hope in His birth as well as the expectation of His second coming. Our Advent call is to prepare for both. So, how do we do that?
All of the lectionary readings for today tell us. Psalm 16 tells us to keep our feet on the path of life that God has shown us. Psalm 17 tells us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Psalm 22 instructs us to tell others the good things God has done for us. The prophet Amos tells his people to seek God and live, to hate evil and love good. Jude tells the early Christians to keep a mature faith and rely on the love of God in the face of idolatry and ungodliness in their churches. And Matthew, in his parable, tells us to respond to God’s invitation of free grace by coming to His banquet. It is when we do these things instead of getting distracted by life’s busyness (as in the parable), or the commercialization of our modern Christmas, that our souls can freely rejoice in God our Savior. It is when our lives are lived in such a way that others can see Christ in us and we can reflect our joy in His presence, that God is made known to them.
Might I suggest during this Advent 2017, that we look again at what God has already done for us and then look at ourselves to see just how well we are living out our call to follow Christ and how well we are reflecting to the world the joy that He gives. This may sound a little more like a Lenten exercise than an Advent one. But in the history of the church calendar, Advent was once a more penitent season like Lent and was observed by early Christians as a kind of “Lent” during the 40 days before Christmas. Whatever the season, we are called to be more like Christ.
Amos speaks of a life lived richly in a right relationship with God. And the Psalmist reminds us that in God’s presence we find the fullness of joy.
May your Advent be filled with the joy of the Lord.