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Advent

No More Games, Santa. Justice…..

Day 3: Advent Promises – Change is Coming!
Isaiah 9:5-7 (The Message)

The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, will be piled in a heap and burned,
a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over the running of the world.

His names will be:

Amazing Counselor,
Strong God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.

His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this.

*******

I don’t remember where I found this photo – maybe Twitter or Facebook – don’t know. I didn’t take it and I don’t know the child in the photo. But when I saw the caption, my heart fluttered. Santa, I don’t want any games – I want justice.

And One is coming who has promised peace, love, abundant life and justice …

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Advent Barbara K. Lundblad hope O come Immanuel waiting working

Advent: The Season of WaitingWorkingWitnessing

Barbara Lundblad shares with us an alternative text for one of my favorite Advent Hymns – “O Come, O  Come Immanuel”.  She captures in such a beautiful way the yearnings of Advent for us in real time:

We are hopeful…so hopeful…
We desire to be free from weapons…
To be liberated from despair and apathy…
To be used so that justice will be made real for the poor, for children – for all of us.
Advent is more than just a season on a calendar to me. It’s an orientation, strategy – a lens.
We are actively “WaitingWorkingWitnessing”  (I just made that word up, that’s what preachers do when we can’t find an existing word to fit what we are trying to say!) – waiting for God to dispel the night and working with God as a witness against every shadow, a witness for the power of God’s big amazing restoring love to give us victory over every conceivable grave, to revive every “withered place”.
That’s the everyday work of advent messengers.
O come, O come Immanuel
And bless each place your people dwell
Melt every weapon crafted for war
Bring peace upon the earth forever more
Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Take heart and do not fear,
God’s Chosen One, Immanuel draws near.
O come, green shoot of Jesse, free
Your people from despair and apathy;
Forge justice for the poor and meek,
Grant safety for the young ones and weak.
Refrain
O come, now living water, pour your grace
And bring new life to every withered place
Speak comfort to each trembling heart:
“Be strong! Fear not, for I will ne’er depart.”
Refrain
O come, dear child of Mary, come
God’s word made flesh within our earthly home
Love stir within the womb of night
Revenge and hatred put to flight.
Refrain
Words by Barbara K. Lundblad

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Advent battle Isaiah Jesus

December 1, 2013: Advent Promises – No More

“But there will be no more gloom
 for those who were in anguish…”
Isaiah 9: 1a (NRSV)

“But there’ll be no darkness 
for those who were in trouble…”
Isaiah 9: 1a (The Message Translation)

Whether it is gloom and anguish or darkness and trouble — the coming of The Messiah means no more of it.  No more gloom, anguish, darkness and trouble.  

This promise is special to me. I used to think that I was in a battle against darkness.  I used to fear that trouble would win the day because I was no certainly no match.  But then, I was reminded that The One who is coming has already won the battle against darkness.  Trouble has an expiration date. My job is not to win the battle but to stand as a witness.  
Most days, standing takes everything I’ve got.  But that’s my one job! Witness and affirm…no more gloom…One is coming who will pierce the night forever.
Wait….