Sunday, December 24, 2006,1:24 PM
Fourth Sunday of Advent - Reflections
”And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. – Luke 2:8-12

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:14-21

Good tidings of great joy. Born this day. Today this scripture is fulfilled.

As we light the Advent candle today we celebrate joy. Joy in the promises of a Messiah, joy in the waiting and longing, joy in the hope, and peace, and love. Good tiding of great joy. Joy is our response to Advent. To the hope that a better world is possible. To the promise of peace on earth. To the love we give and receive.

And this joy is a joy we can celebrate now. Christ is born. The promises of scripture have been fulfilled. The Kingdom is here and now. There is hope for the poor, there is freedom for the oppressed, there is sight for the blind. We can take joy that Christ has come and is at work in the world.

The past week I came upon a blog where the author was demanding that “Joy to the World” not be sung as Christmas. His reasoning was that it is not a song about Christ’s first advent (his birth), but a song about the second coming of Christ. He believes that none of the things celebrated in the song have happened or can happen until Christ returns, so there is no reason to ever sing the words “joy to the world.”

But we have the words of the Angels and Christ himself that we can have joy today. Christ has come – love dwelled among us, hope was born in a manger. And we who choose to follow in the way of Christ can proclaim that joy and work for that joy. We are called to share that joy. To be the ones giving hope. The ones bringing freedom from oppression. The ones making sure the words “joy to the world” are a reality. The ones making sure sins and sorrows do not grow. The ones working the wonders of his love.

So this Advent, this Christmas – let us not just “repeat the sounding joy,” but let us be the harbingers of that Joy.

For Joy to the world the Lord is come.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

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posted by Julie at 1:24 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


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