Readings: Malachi 3:1-4 or Baruch 5:1-9; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6
Today in churches throughout the world we light the second purple candle on the Advent wreath—the candle of HOPE. Hope has two meanings in the Bible: tiqvah—anticipation, a sense of eagerly awaiting something; and eipis—confident expectation based on certitude. I love Jim Wallis’ definition of hope as believing in spite of the evidence and then watching the evidence change.
In the Hebrew scriptures we read of the certain hope of the coming of the Messiah and the restoration of Jerusalem. One of the appointed readings for today is taken from the Apocrypha—the book of Baruch, where in stirring prose Jerusalem is told to look to the east and see the joy that is coming from God. Look, your children are coming, whom you sent away…rejoicing in the glory of God (4:36,37) and continues into today’s reading: “Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.(5:1)
In the gospel reading for today we have the magnificent “Benedictus”—” The Song of Zechariah “ (Luke 1:68-79):
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.”
The fulfillment of one thousand years of hoping is made manifest this day in the temple—giving certainty to our anticipation of the coming of the Word among us, as if to say—”Believe! The evidence is changing!”
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
Offered by Bill Albritton, teacher and seeker of the Christ Child.