Advent | Day 2

Monday, November 28

  • Psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
  • Amos 2.6-16
  • 2 Peter 1.1-11
  • Matthew 21.1-11

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
“Jesus, thou Joy of Loving Hearts”
(Bernard of Clairvaux, tr. Ray Palmer)

One of the principle themes of advent is that of joy. And one of the things we may learn about joy—from the hymn stanza just quoted, from today’s scripture in 2 Peter, and in fact, from advent itself—is that joy has a kind of history. Joy is not only an event, but something with a past, a present and a future. In Bernard’s hymn, for instance, Jesus is the sustenance provided, the meal savored and the fullness anticipated. There is a similar narrative arc in today’s scripture. As he looks at Jesus, Peter celebrates that “we have been given everything” (v. 3). At the same time he exhorts his readers to present action—“make every effort to add to your faith” (v. 5). Finally, he looks ahead with delight and confidence: “you will never stumble . . . you will receive a rich welcome” (v.11).

In Jesus, the fullness of all things has been revealed. In Jesus we have seen the fullness of God (Col. 1.19). He also shows us the fullness of humanity. He is, Paul says, the true and complete human (1 Cor. 15.45-49). Indeed, in him, all of creation is summed up and brought to completion. In him we see, not only all that God is, but all that we are to become. This “what we are to become” however explains why this great gift has not only a past tense, but a present and a future.

Because of the light we have been given, we now have the calling of growing up into all the fullness of humanity that we see in Jesus Christ. And—what is more—because in Jesus we have received all we need for life and godliness, the calling we have been given is undergirded by certainty and confidence. We know that God will bring to completion that which he has begun in us. The joy we find in Jesus is one of contentment, one of aspiration, and one of anticipation. The gift we have in Jesus is not only something once received, but also a calling and a promise.

Steve Guthrie
Associate Professor, School of Religion

You can access an online version of the 2011 Advent Guide (presented annually be Belmont’s School of Religion) at: http://issuu.com/office.communications/docs/2011_advent_guide#download

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