Advent devotions: December 12th
For I the Lord love justice,
I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.
People and history are filled with layers upon layers of complexity. In the face of that complexity, we can easily ignore two of the deepest truths that Advent attests to.
First, humanity is deeply broken and in desperate need of a Savior. We live in and are a part of a sinful world, a world of broken relationships with God and neighbor. This is true for all people, in all times and all places. Second, the work of God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ is both greater and more mysterious than we want to admit. The Word became flesh to save us and now through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word becomes flesh in us, in order to restore us and equip us for the continued work of redeeming all of creation back to God.
This Scripture passage paints a rich portrait of people coming together through the redemptive power of the gospel. In this biblical account we see the living God causing “righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (v. 11). Rather than conforming to the patterns of this world, Advent invites Christians into a new perspective that encourages each person to joyfully embrace their own culture and at the same time celebrate the cultural differences of other sisters and brothers in Christ.
In a broken world often marked by tribalism and suffering, the gospel offers expressions of unity through praise and hope for oneness without sameness. In the kingdom of God, diversity within God’s people is not just a nice commodity for contemporary Christianity. Instead, multicultural worshiping communities serve as a faithful witness of the living image of God to the whole world.
Prayer: Living God, continue to renew and transform us during this Advent season. Teach us your ways and remind us to praise you in our rejoicing and even in our grieving. Transform and conform us more into the likeness of your son, Jesus Christ, in order that the Word may become flesh in us. Amen.
Carlos Corro is pastor of Imago Church, a church plant in Visalia, California, and president of the RCA Council for Hispanic Ministries.