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Advent soberly acknowledges the darkness in the world. We are reminded of wars and rumors of wars, disease, death, and despair. How are we to walk forward?
A mother asked her young son to go into the dark of night and shut the barn doors. The son protested that it...

“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” Amen.


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Lectionary Week
December 19–25, 2016
Scripture Overview

Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle is the theme that binds this week’s passages together—unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. These texts celebrate a God who reigns in strength. Yet this God is near and immediate, a participant in the human struggle for light and salvation. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’”(Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then the note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at creation, the eter- nal Word, “became esh and lived among us” (John 1:14).

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 9:2-7. What or who in your life helps you to continue to walk in the world’s darkness?
• Read Psalm 98. How do you discover hope even in the midst of dif cult times for the earth? How does this hope allow you to shout for joy and sing the Lord’s song?
• Hebrews 1:1-12. Advent reminds us of Jesus bridging the gap between God and humanity. How does this reality change the way you experience the world?
• John 1:1-14. Re ect on the incarnation of God in the form of a baby. In what ways does this in uence the way you see and understand God’s nature?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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