Advent | Day 27

Friday, December 23

  • Psalms 93, 96, 148, 150
  • Isaiah 61.1-11
  • Galatians 3.15-22
  • Luke 1.67-80 or Matthew 1.1-17

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me; he has
sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim
liberty to the captives, and release to the
prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Isaiah 61.1-3

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he returns to Nazareth, his hometown, to teach at his synagogue. When he stands before his family and community, he reads this passage from Isaiah and begins his sermon by saying, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4.21). However, this congregation had come together to see the big show—to see the miracles of Jesus; they could care less about that scripture being fulfilled. But Jesus doesn’t give them their show. Instead, he implies that true miracles are performed in the jailhouse, the slums, the orphanages, and the streets. When Jesus proclaims himself to be the Anointed One, he will be the one to transform and restore us to righteousness not only for our physical selves but our social, economic, and political selves, too.

During Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ; we remember the restoration and transforming power that comes to us packaged in such humble beginnings. However, this remembering, this coming, this hoping does what the Word says:

“For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it
to spring up, so the Lord God will cause
righteousness and praise to spring up before
all the nations”
(Isaiah 61.11).

Our Advent waiting will soon be over, and when Christ has come, we will wear “a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit” (61.3). Now that Christ has come, the Scriptures have been fulfilled and we can “build up the ancient ruins,” content that we are working with the grain of universe to bring God’s freedom and peace to those far-off and dispossessed.

“O come, Desire of nations,
Bind All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!”

Allie Levanway
Alumna, 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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