The season of Advent takes us back to the time before Jesus was born. We imagine ourselves with Israel still waiting for the promised Messiah. There is hope but also lament. Israel has languished under the oppression of empires for generations and has cried out to God for deliverance. The...
Lord, when I feel discouraged, I’ll remember we are living in the tension and remember the times when you have shown up. When I feel overwhelmed, I’ll remember that we are living in the tension and cast my cares upon you. When I’m tired of waiting for justice, I’ll look for ways you are creating shalom all around me. Give me eyes for “already”—your kingdom has come near—and stamina for the “not yet” as we live in a world that does not yet fully reflect the love and peace of your kingdom. Amen.
Isaiah is sent to the king of Judah to declare a prophecy of a future birth through a virgin. The boy will be called Immanuel, “God is with us.” The psalmist cries out to God asking for an end to the suffering of the people. He believes that this will occur through a “son of man,” an expression that Jesus later uses to describe himself. Paul’s opening to Romans roots the gospel in the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus comes from the line of David and fulfills the things foretold. To understand Jesus, we must understand the Hebrew scriptures. Matthew recounts the visitation of an angel to Joseph to tell him of the coming birth of a son. Matthew interprets this birth as a fulfillment of this week’s reading from Isaiah 7.
Read Isaiah 7:10-16. How does Isaiah’s prophecy continue to speak to you today? How do you hope for Christ’s coming?
Read Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19. Recall a time when you have relied on hope for God’s restoration.
Read Romans 1:1-7. What would it mean to add “servanthood” to your list of life goals?
Read Matthew 1:18-25. How is your life different for having listened to God’s call?
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