The start

We start our advent songs with some good old anticipation of what is going to happen. I’m reading Jeremiah at the moment, it’s not a pretty read and I’ve only got to the 10th chapter. It’s a heart wrenching read as we witness the last scenes of the marriage of God and his people, divorce is on the cards, this is a people who will never relent, never stop lying, never stop sleeping around with other gods, never stop saying one thing and doing something else. This is a people whose last chances ran out a while ago. But this is a God who has a surprising amount of solutions up his sleeve. For this group of God’s people their time has come to an end, they’re off out of the land, enough is enough. But again, enough is never quite enough for the God who is unfailing in his love and stubborn in his desire to see his people living with him in peace.

So what do we have now? Rather oddly, considering the actions of the people of God so far in history, we have promises of something more to come. Jeremiah has to physically demonstrate this hope by buying a field (slightly less embarrassing than most of the stuff the prophets are usually asked to do but still pretty weird given the people are being chucked out of the land and there seems to be no guarantee of return.)

This is what God says:

From Jeremiah 31:
31 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, 
“when I will make a new covenant 
with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, 
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them declares the LORD. 
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. 
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. 
I will be their God, and they will be my people. 
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ 
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. 
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

From Isaiah: 9:1-2“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; 
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 6-9 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. 
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, 
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. 
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Promises are made, hope is still on the horizon, a new way to live with God is going to happen, a new child will be born who will rule as an everlasting King.  In the midst of the end of the age of Israel as a great nation greater promises are made for the future. God has not given up on his people. The light has come into the darkness.

Christmas here in the UK is made all the more poignant by it’s placing in the dark season of the year, a time when it seems all the more relevant that there needs to be light in the darkness. November has been a gloomy month, the nights are dark and the days are cloudy. We are reminded that we need light.  We live in dark times in our country, recession is upon us, the things we cling to for happiness and peace are threatened. We are uncertain and fearful. Into this world, steps the Light of that World. Even if we were in sun drenched lands at this time, even if we had plenty and knew no fear we would still face the darkness of our hearts, our failure to love, our self centred lives. We need the light to shine in the depths of our being and to know that there is hope this Christmas time.

And so Advent begins. We wait and we watch and we remember these truths. Lets remember this Advent that amongst the high streets, the fights over turkey, the pain of family divisions, the greed in our hearts that there is a stronger reason for joy. The light has come into the world, the child has been born. There is a reality larger than our self-absorbed kingdoms and a God who is committed to shaking us from them and enabling us to live with him in this world.

To Ponder:

Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Immanuel shall come to thee O Israel

Oh come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

Oh come, Thou Day-Spring come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

Oh come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

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One Response to The start

  1. Pingback: Recommended reading | Musings of a librarian

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