2011 Advent Devotion- Sunday, December 4

Sunday, December 4
Luke 1:57-66, Amos 6:1-14

So very often God’s greatest mercies seem tiny at first. Here is John, a squalling baby. In thirty years or so, he’s a man whose voice defies an empire, whose way of keeping peace is violently suppressing any opposition. His words still defy empires, if we dare to hear them. Keep reading if you have any doubts about that, with his talk of a Spirit of fire that will sweep the chaff away and baptize others into bold new lives.

In an era where gatherings of people make authorities nervous, John draws a steady stream of searchers to the Jordan. Then, he sends them home changed, waiting for a Savior, yes, but also seeing the world around them differently. If you have two coats, give one away. Don’t spend your time accumulating, he says. Don’t abuse your power, if you have it.

So a tiny mercy to a woman desperate to mother a baby becomes a mercy for a people, as great as the writer of Luke promises us. What’s more, time can’t crush its power. So today rejoice. Rejoice with Elizabeth, this new older mother, and with the neighbors who share in her delight. And then, wait. Wait and see what John has to say to us, here and now.

Gracious God, your mercies break open around us with both the light of each morning and the quiet of each night. In this Advent, open our eyes and our lips, attune our hearts and our spirits, make ready our ears and our bodies. That our waiting may be vigilant, tuned to your presence in the world. Amen.

Valéry Nodum, associate, international hunger issues Presbyterian Hunger Program, PC(USA)
Louisville, Kentucky

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