First Thursday of Advent
Grab Your Bible and Read: Psalm 85.1-2, 8-13
Today the focus shifts toward preparing for this coming Sunday, which introduces us to the messenger of God’s coming, John the Baptizer. Psalm 85 encourages God’s people to listen to God’s message of peace, and to allow it to shape their lives. It celebrates God’s reign of justice and righteousness, and how these two attributes prepare the way for God’s coming. This, of course, was the work that John did - challenging people to confront themselves, change & commit to God’s ways in preparation for God’s coming.
The temptation here is to become legalistic and make our work of preparation and righteousness the necessary ingredient for God’s coming to us. In Christ we now know that nothing we do can earn God’s presence or approval, so it’s not about that. Rather, the challenge of this Psalm, and of the Advent season, is to allow God to come into our lives fully so that we are truly changed. Then, as we begin to reflect God’s character in our lives, we become heralds of God’s coming to others, because they experience God’s grace, God’s peace and justice in and through us.
In what ways can you listen more carefully to God’s message of peace and justice? How do you experience “love and truth meeting” and “righteousness and peace kissing” in your own life? How can you open your life even more to allow God’s word to take root in your soul this Advent?
As you speak your words of peace, O God, may they settle into my heart. As you speak your words of love and justice, may they become the rhythm to which my life moves. And as you speak to me, O God, may your words also be heard through me. In Jesus’ name we pray. ~Amen.