Jeremiah 33:14-16 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)
As we embark on this Advent season, a time of anticipation and preparation, it’s a joy to explore the profound and timeless message of hope, peace, joy, and love this season offers. The Advent season marks the beginning of our journey toward celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Just like a traveler prepares for a journey, we too are called to prepare our hearts for the arrival of our Redeemer. Today’s devotion is our first step of this journey.
The opening prayer reminds us to connect our hearts to the divine promise and purpose of this season. It beautifully encapsulates the essence of Advent, reminding us to cast away the works of darkness and clothe ourselves with the armor of light. As we anticipate the arrival of Jesus Christ, we’re encouraged to embody his light in our lives.
In the book of Jeremiah, we read about a promise—a promise of a coming Savior, a righteous Branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. This Savior is to be called “The LORD Our Righteous Savior.” The scripture reminds us that God’s promises are not empty; they are filled with hope and purpose. Jeremiah’s words speak to the hearts of the people of Israel and Judah, who, like us, were living in anticipation of God’s fulfillment of his promise.
In the words of Jeremiah, we hear the resounding message that our Lord’s intention is to fulfill the promises he makes to his people. Just as Jeremiah’s words found fulfillment in the birth of Jesus Christ, we can rest assured that God’s promises to us will also be fulfilled.
Leo the Great reminds us that in Jesus Christ, David’s Lord became David’s Son. The twofold nature of Christ, truly God and truly human, came together in one Person. This was necessary for the fulfillment of God’s plan, for in Christ, both his divinity and humanity were present. His deity allowed him to perform mighty works, while his true humanity enabled him to endure sufferings.
As we reflect on Leo the Great's words, we’re reminded of the profound mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh to fulfill God’s promise of salvation. He was born into this world as a humble baby, yet he was also Almighty God who could perform miracles and bring salvation to all. This is the heart of the Christmas story—a story of divine love and grace.
Throughout this Advent season, we must also intentionally pause for introspection and confession. The prayer of confession by Paul Laughlin above humbly acknowledges that, at times, we fall into hopelessness, skepticism, and cynicism about the future. We may despair about our own prospects and the fate of the world. But we’re called to confess our weaknesses, for in doing so, we open our hearts to God’s forgiveness, strength, and hope.
This season calls us to remember that the hopes and fears of all the years were met in Christ at his birth. Our God is faithful in keeping the promises he makes to his covenant children. Just as Israel and Judah anticipated the Messiah’s first arrival, we, too, look back at our Lord’s first advent, even as we look forward to his second coming. We are called to live faithfully “in between” these two advents.
- God’s Promises Are Sure: Jeremiah’s prophecy reminds us that God's promises are not empty words. They are filled with divine purpose and will be fulfilled in his perfect timing. Just as the people of Israel and Judah awaited the promised Savior, we await the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives. We can rest in the assurance that God is faithful to his word.
- The Mystery of the Incarnation: Leo the Great’s insight underscores the profound mystery of the Incarnation. The twofold nature of Christ, both fully divine and fully human, is at the heart of the Christian faith. The birth of Jesus, a humble baby in Bethlehem, was a pivotal moment in history when God’s love for humanity was made tangible.
- Confession and Hope: Advent is a time for reflection and confession. We may find ourselves falling into hopelessness, skepticism, and cynicism about the future. Yet, our prayer of confession reminds us that God’s grace bursts into our lives, and we should be ready to recognize it. Advent calls us to strengthen our faith, bolster our hope, and prepare our hearts to receive God’s blessings.
- Offer a Prayer of Thanksgiving: Take a moment to offer a heartfelt prayer to God, thanking him for the fulfillment of his promise through the birth of Jesus Christ. Express your gratitude for his faithfulness and love.
- Walk Faithfully in the “In-Between” Times: As we live between the times of Christ’s first and second advents, ask the Lord to help you walk faithfully with him. Consider how you can embody the light of Christ in your life and bring hope to those around you.
- Reflect on Your Spiritual Growth: Think about how you would like to grow spiritually during this Advent season. Is there a specific area of your life where you feel the need for greater faith, hope, or love? Share your thoughts and aspirations with a friend and encourage one another in your walk with Christ.
Let’s remember throughout this Advent season, that we’re not alone. We’re a community of believers, walking together in faith, hope, and love. Together, we cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, awaiting the glorious return of our Lord and Savior. May God bless you abundantly during this Advent season, and may you find joy and encouragement in the anticipation of our Lord’s coming.