Advent Devotional December 21, 2017

Scripture

Psalm 126

1   When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
          we were like those who dream.
2   Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
          and our tongue with shouts of joy;
     then it was said among the nations,
          “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3   The LORD has done great things for us,
          and we rejoiced.

4   Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
          like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5   May those who sow in tears
          reap with shouts of joy.
6   Those who go out weeping,
          bearing the seed for sowing,
     shall come home with shouts of joy,
          carrying their sheaves.

Devotional

The Rev. Wayland Coe, Assistant Dean, Cranmer Theological House / Houston, Texas / Eastern Christian Focus

Think of a time when an enormous burden was lifted from you. Call to mind the feelings of relief, joy, and rest. Now think about the Israelites being delivered from bondage in Babylon. Having spent decades under the oppressive rule of Nebuchadnezzar, they were finally freed by the decree of King Cyrus.

Psalm 126, a song of ascent, describes that joy of the dream come true. Mouths filled with laughter and tongues with joy as they rejoiced in the great things God had done for them. With the incarnation of the second person of the blessed Trinity, Jesus, God has done even greater things for us. In and through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, God has delivered us from bondage to sin and delivered us from the powers of death.

Like Israel, our mouths are filled with joy as we rejoice in the great works Jesus has done for us in his incarnation. The promise of God’s long-awaited Messiah has come to pass, and we are the recipients of his great mercy and love. In his commentary on Psalm 126, St. Augustine wrote, “They have done ill with themselves, for they have sold themselves under sin [as we also have done]. The Redeemer came, and did good things for them.” And also for us.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, you have done great things for us in sending your Son, our Lord, to redeem us from the bondage of sin and death. Fill our mouths with praises of joy and thanksgiving for the wonderful incarnation of your Son, and grant that we might tell abroad the wonderful works of God. These things we pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.