Tuesday, December 06, 2011

First Tuesday of Advent

Happy are those whose help
       is the God of Jacob,
   whose hope is in the LORD
      their God,
who made heaven and earth,
   the sea, and all that is in
who keeps faith forever;
   who executes justice for
      the oppressed;
   who gives food to the
The LORD sets the prisoners
   the LORD opens the eyes of
      the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who
      are bowed down;
   the LORD loves the
The LORD watches over the
   he upholds the orphan and
      the widow,
but the way of the wicked
      he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever,
   your God, O Zion, for all
Praise the LORD!

They stand there, all dressed up in their best clothes, hair neatly combed, faces scrubbed, all ready to participate in the schools Christmas program; snuggled under the covers, their faces unlined with worry or fears, their breath gently stirring the room; seated at the table, their eyes wide with wonder and joy as the holiday feast is brought into the room  -  there are those moments when we gaze at our children or grandchildren and silently whisper to ourselves, 'this moment!  Let them stay like they are in this moment.  I wish they didn't have to grow up to face the world as it really is.'

That's the way, all too often, we want to treat Jesus.  Let him stay just as he is in that pageant moment - small, helpless, innocent, adorable, so cuddly.  Let him stay just as he looks on all the cards we get in this holiest of seasons, that halo of light surrounding his beauty.  Let him stay there in that manger in that barn (cleaned up and sanitized, of course) where we will always be able to find him.

But the psalmist reminds us of that One who grows up to make sure the oppressed have that burden lifted off their lives, and to keep the food pantries stocked for the hungry.  We are told of the baby who will pick the locks of the cells, and set us from from all that imprisons us.  This song promises that our blinded eyes will be open to the hope that is right there before us, of those who have been tripped up by the indifference of the world being picked up and dusted off, of strangers who have that best Friend imaginable, of orphans who find their home, of those who find that love they thought had died away.

Perhaps we need to stop wanting to freeze Jesus in a particular moment of time and pray that he grows up (and fast!) so he will be with us in all the moments of our lives.

Praise the LORD!

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

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