December 13, 2020
by David Crawford
Creighton University's Reinert Alumni Library
click here for photo and information about the writer

Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 8

Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Praying Advent Home Page


Praying Advent as Parents

Reconciliation and Healing

Rejoice!  What wonderful, joyful readings we have today!  On the day we light the Joy candle, our first three readings remind us – Paul even commands us – to rejoice.  Be filled with joy in our God.  So rejoice! 

There are elements in the Gospel reading that also point to joy, albeit in less explicit ways.  First, the hopeful questions from the priests, Levites, and Pharisees demonstrate their belief that the promised Messiah would come.  We can rejoice because our Messiah did come.  God kept – and continues to keep – promises.  Rejoice!

It is understandable that the Jewish leaders might wonder if the strangely dressed, charismatic, prophet-like figure – who after all was the son of a devout priest from the Jerusalem temple – was a candidate for the exalted role. What we know, though, is that many of these same folks failed to recognize the Christ when He was right in front of them.  Jesus did not match their preconceptions of who a Messiah would be. 

It occurs to me that the priests, Levites, and Pharisees were looking for a new version of Israel’s great prophets and kings of days gone by, but they were thinking too small.  We often do the same.  Over a half century ago, J. B. Phillips, in his book Your God Is Too Small, challenges Christians (and skeptics) to stop defining God in ways that make our Creator comprehensible to us and realize that God is greater than we can envision.  At a time when we wonder how the world will get through the pandemic or get past deep political and racial divisions, know that God can handle this.  Rejoice! 

I also take comfort from how John answered the men who came to him.  John’s response indicates he knew God’s purpose for him.  I envy his awareness.  I know that God has a purpose for me, but I lack John’s clarity and confidence.  God has a plan for each of us, including you.  If no one has told you that before, let me be the first.  Rejoice!  God, who made you and loves you, has a purpose for you.

Like Isaiah, rejoice heartily in the Lord.  Like Mary, let your soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord; let you spirit rejoice in God our Savior.  Like Paul, rejoice always!  May you be filled daily with joy in our God.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook