“Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (BCP 1979)
14 “ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15 “ ‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
The Great Tradition
“David’s Lord was made David’s Son, and sprang from the fruit of the promised branch—One without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one Person, that by one and the same conception and birth might spring our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true humanity for the endurance of sufferings.” (Leo the Great)
Prayer of Confession
“O God of infinite promise, we confess that we often fall into hopelessness, skepticism, and even cynicism about the future, and that we despair about our own prospects and the fate of the earth. Forgive us we pray. Strengthen our faith and bolster our hope, so that when your grace bursts into our lives, as it always does, we shall be able to recognize it and be ready to give you our thanks and praise. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen” (Paul Laughlin)
Today’s Scripture from Jeremiah reminds us of our Lord’s intention to fulfill the promise he made to his children during Old Testament times. We know Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of that promise. For he is the “righteous Branch sprout from David’s line.” He is “the Lord our Righteous Savior.” The hopes and fears of all the years were met in Christ at his birth. Our God is the one who keeps the promises he makes to his covenant children. As Israel and Judah anticipated the Messiah’s first arrival, we look back at our Lord’s first advent, even as we look forward to his second coming. We live between the times.
By grace, we “cast away the works of darkness and put on… the armor of light” as we seek to live faithfully during our time of great anticipation. Because we know God kept his promise to send his Son the first time, we can live with confidence that he will keep his promise to send him again. Therefore, we will not “fall into hopelessness, skepticism, and even cynicism about the future, [nor] despair about our own prospects and the fate of the earth.” While we await our Lord’s return, we will “always watch and pray” (Luke 21:36) as we witness and serve in his name.
Thanks be to God.
- Offer a prayer to God, thanking him for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Ask the Lord to help you walk faithfully with him during this time of living “in between” his advents.
- Think about how you would like to grow spiritually during this Advent season, and share your idea with someone.