Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:22, NRSV)
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. (Isaiah 32:16-17, NRSV)
Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:16-18, NRSV)
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NRSV)
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:8-20, NRSV).
Tonight we light again the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love, and then, finally, we light the Christ Candle. For unto us is born this day in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ.
I've been thinking of the words that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, spoke to Mary when Mary visited her after learning of both pregnancies: " And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45, NRSV). Blessed is she (or he, but Elizabeth was speaking to Mary) who believed that everything the Lord said would come true.
It won't be the way we want it, or when we want it, or how we want it, but it will BE.
Merry Christmas, everyone. May the hope, peace, joy, and love of the Christ child enter your hearts and remain with you, now and forever.
Image. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/db/b9/a2/dbb9a28a526251bc5fd95ffa1641bcc0.jpg Accessed December 24, 2021
"The Advent Wreath." Father Julian's Blog. December 1, 2013. Father Julian's Blog: The Advent Wreath. Accessed January 1, 2021