Week 1 of the 2017 Christian Advent Season is ending. The theme – Hope – focuses on the possibilities embodied in the Messiah. Those possibilities inspire optimism. The Messiah’s arrival:
• encourages and empowers the oppressed;
• critiques oppressors and gives them room for repentance;
• lifts up the least of us;
• delivers from the burden, consequences, and power of sin;
• makes possible reconciliation between humankind and God, their Creator;
• redefines the term “family;”
• challenges the legitimacy of corrupt institutions and systems;
• affirms the value of all humankind;
• promises redemption, regeneration and resurrection of all that is useful and valuable;
• demonstrates godliness- unconditional love, peaceable living, forgiveness, empathy, unselfishness, and generosity.
The previous list highlights why Advent is both festive and somber. It is the celebration of the possibilities that Christ’s birth provides. It also causes believers to bow in reverent humility when they, self included, comprehend the God’s great love for creation. Like the psalmist we are compelled to sing out:
Psalm 8 (New Living Translation)
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument.
1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, by
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned theme with glory and honor.
6 You gave them [responsible for taking care of ] everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
a 8: title Hebrew according to the gittith.
b 8:2 Greek version reads to give you praise. Compare Matt 21:16.
c 8:4 Hebrew what is man that you should think of him, / the son of man that you should care for him?
d 8:5a Or Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels; Hebrew reads Yet you made him [i.e., man] a little lower than Elohim.
e 8:5b Hebrew him [i.e., man]; similarly in 8:6.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.
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