The Mormon Lectionary Project: Fourth Advent

Mormon Lectionary Project: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-16Romans 1:1-7Matthew 1:18-25Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18, 1 Nephi 11:16-22

The Collect: Heavenly Father, purify us through the Spirit, that thy Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; and if not a mansion, then a manger, for there is room for him with us.

We have almost arrived. The fourth candle is now lit and we can properly consider the coming of Christ at Christmas. This is what makes Advent such a holy time, one we might aim to observe with greater focus. Christmas is such a joy but let us first wait and prepare. Patience seems to elude us in December as we rush towards the 25th.

The Old Testament reading, if read fully, is provocative. We well know the sign of Jesus’ birth — “a virgin shall conceive” — but what of the next line? “He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15). This may be the Immanuel, God with us, but he is not a superman like the Siddartha Buddha of myth who walked and talked from birth. Instead, this Immanuel will be a fully human baby with much mewling and puking to do before he comes of age. An eater of curds and honey — primitive foods — not some ambrosia from a loftier world; a man as much as the Son of Man. One who will descend below all things to save us from all things, the “condescension of God” (1 Nephi 11: 16)

How profound a prayer comes from the Psalms: “Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:7). It is this Yeshua “through whom we have received grace” (Rom. 1:5), “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

Comments

  1. Officially starting the second year. Wonderful.

  2. This is lovely. Your mention of the condescension of God in 1 Nephi 11 reminded me that during our Christmas program on Sunday one of the young missionaries read to us of the “condensation of God.” And He shall rain forever and ever….