Second Sunday of Advent
December 04, 2022
First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
Second Reading: Romans 15-4-13
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever. Amen
A New Hope We have in Jesus Christ:
The word Advent means “coming” it is a time to slow down, be quiet and meditate what is the real meaning of Christmas. It is also the beginning of the liturgical year; the season begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on the day before Christmas.
There are three weeks before Christmas and we still have time to prepare our hearts and our minds by preparing our lives as we wait for the coming of Jesus.
It may be a time for a new beginning for us as Christians, and change is among us, in this time of advent expectation. Many of us may have already experienced the kinds of change that faith can bring, but that does not mean that change is over.
Yes, a year older, one more year of knowledge, another year in the life of faith. It can also be the season year after year, to challenge our hearts and minds. A season of waiting. and who has not waited?
Let us focus on the promise, that God made to his people, and how that promise was fulfilled in Jesus.
Christmas gift in advent is the process, as we learn to calm our hearts and minds and focus on Gods promise. The birth of a baby, the savior born in Bethlehem.
On this second Sunday in advent and our attention is turned to John the Baptist in our Gospel reading today.
John the Baptist is the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth who preached a message of repentance and salvation, John saw himself as a forerunner of God’s promise of the savior of the world, who will be coming.
John was called by God to prepare the way before Jesus, “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1: 17)
He is the last of the old covenant prophets, and since he was in his mother’s womb, he was chosen by God…And he has been expecting Jesus for a long time, as a matter of fact, all his life, so why shouldn’t he be the one in advent, to help us prepare the way?
Paul’s letter to the Romans gives the Gentiles and the Jewish followers the same Hope of living with each other, he uses words of encouragement and welcomes one another, saying that together one voice will glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He says, those circumcised are part of God’s plan and are included in Christ’s activity. In that Christ’s coming fulfills the promises made to the fathers as well as allowing the nations to glorify the God of Israel. God’s people can worship the God of Israel together, “With one voice.”
He then references, Isaiah “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him, the gentiles shall hope.”
Our reading in Isaiah: A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1)
The spirit of God and the branch of a new life, is Jesus, the new life that is coming into the world, becoming incarnate in the womb Jesus is the one appointed King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The world He entered was far from perfect, Jesus born in a few weeks was sent with the promise of a new life of hope.
Jesus will pay our debt, so that we may have everlasting eternal life by believing in Him.
The Apostle Paul explains it in his letter to the Romans (Romans 15:13) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The advent of Christ is God’s plan for our salvation. The entire Advent story, is the promises made and fulfilled through the birth of Christ, it is the story of God bringing salvation to His people.
Advent and Christmas call us to praise God as we actively await the coming of Christ, prepare our hearts and lives for his arrival, and claim and celebrate the new hope we have in Jesus Christ.
The Reverend Lola Culbreath