It’s the first day of Advent. At church we light the first of the four colored candles on the wreath and at home we start looking ahead to Christmas. Although it’s only the first day of Advent, Christmas trees are going up, cookies are being baked and Christmas lists are being made and amended. It’s a season of preparation – but for what and for whom are we doing all this preparation?
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” That’s a hint about what this season is meant to celebrate. How did we get so far from looking for the coming of the messiah to looking for who can give the best presents and what we’d like to have waiting for us under the tree?
Prophets were challenged to look around and see what was going against what God wanted and expected. Then it was their job to convince the people of the necessity to turn things around. It was an almost impossible job most of the time. People never like to find out they’ve been going the wrong way.
We have a lot of people today telling us that the days are surely coming when we will be bombed or shot or enslaved by foreigners. We will have our guns taken away and our security will be for nothing. That is not what we want to hear. We want assurances that we can wall ourselves off from the rest of the world and still maintain our self-proclaimed Christian status. Sure, God could say a word or something that would change everything instantly, but God doesn’t work that way. If God hadn’t wanted our help to make Eden bloom all over the world, I doubt we would have been given brains and free will and hands to accomplish the task..
We have people today telling us to fear and protect ourselves but we also have prophets who remind us that we are not helpless or hopeless. The thing is, to whom do we listen? Who do we believe?
Today we should hear Jeremiah. He’s telling us the same things he told Israel and Judah. The Lord is our Righteousness, YHWH Tsiquednu.
Image: “Hieronymus Bosch 013” by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) – art database. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons