Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent Day 21: The Return

Today's readings: Micah 5:1-5 and Luke 1:47-55

Then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord... and they shall live secure... (Micah 5:3b-4)

He has shown strength with his arm... he has filled the hungry with good things... (Luke 1:51a, 53a)

The Advent journey is a trip home.

The people of God take to the road with a familiar destination drawing them forward: the lands of our ancestors, the cities of our births. When we return to our kindred, we're struck by how changed things are (how changed we are) and by how other things are exactly the same... and tears may flow down our cheeks for both reasons.

When we return, we may be prodigals, welcomed with open arms and feasting, all our hungers being filled with only good... or we may be strangers, every door closed to us, "no vacancies" voiced by every gruff innkeeper.

But there is One who awaits our return, just as we've been awaiting his.

He's waiting to feed us on his strength, on the glory of his name. He's waiting to give us security that (no matter how adamant or how confident we are) we cannot achieve ourselves. He's waiting to bring peace, through us or in spite of us. He's waiting, just as we are, for the day when every ancient promise will be fulfilled: the lowest ones lifted up, starving bodies and souls nourished. He's waiting for us to come down the road singing----but instead of "Over the river and through the woods," he's listening for choruses of "My soul magnifies the Lord..." The old family home is ready for our arrival, lights burning in the windows, the feast prepared, the joyous welcome on his lips.

Why do we keep him waiting?

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