December 8, 2013
AND A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM
This passage contains much about the past and the future. There is hope for a ruler of the lineage of David (from Jesse, the father of David) who will exercise wisdom and judgment. The wicked will be dealt with and the poor will be looked after. He shall be righteous. We then read of the imagery of the wolf and the lamb living peacefully together. A cow and bear shall be together. A child and an adder co-exist peacefully. All of this is pronounced, “glorious.”
We are reading the concluding section from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. The theme for the moment is “hope” and that will be found in the scriptures. Paul urges the readers to welcome one another just as Christ welcomed them. He concludes in verse 13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
We meet John the Baptist who comes from the wilderness of Judea. He proclaims that “the kingdom of heaven has come near.” John is described in his camel’s hair and leather belt. He eats the wild fruit and honey of the land and he baptizes the people in the Jordan. And while he announces that he baptizes with water, there is one coming who is more powerful and he will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Last Sunday on the first Sunday of Advent I explained how we do not just jump right into the joyful, happy carols of Christmas. In week number one of Advent we hear the prophet Isaiah and consider the possibility of a long-awaited one coming into our midst. Now we have week number two of Advent and while we will sing some familiar Christmas Carols, we still have not heard anything of the familiar Birth Narrative about the Christ Child born in a stable. This week gives us thoughts of hope and an introduction to John the Baptist who tells of a great one to come.
No Jesus yet. No shepherds and no star over the stable and manger. No wise men. We continue to wait. We continue to read of the events, which led up to the birth. This birth did not just happen in an instant, there were centuries of preparation and waiting and hope. It’s not too much for us to go through four weeks of waiting.
Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing