Sat, 15 December 2018
(Zep.3:14-18a; Is.12:2-6; Phil.4:4-7; Lk.3:10-18)
“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: Rejoice!”
“Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” Zephaniah exclaims. “Shout with exultation, O city of Zion”! Isaiah urges. And Paul is overwhelmed with the spirit of rejoicing. Why such joy? Whence such celebration? “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior,” Zephaniah declares. “Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!” Isaiah proclaims. And Paul tells us simply: “The Lord is near.” What could bring greater joy than such a prospect?
And so we “have no further misfortune to fear.” And so we should be “confident and unafraid.” And so we should “have no anxiety.” For the Lord will “renew [us] in His love.” Our strength and [our] salvation is the Lord,” and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard [our] hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Why should we not be joyful if He Himself “will rejoice over [us] with gladness,” if because of us He sings “as one sings at festivals.” Should we not match His joy poured out for our sakes and sing the song of salvation?
And it is John the Baptist who hails most clearly the song of salvation coming into our midst. It is he who “preached good news to the people” with all the power of God, exhorting them to holiness that they might be gathered as “wheat into His barn.” By him “the people were filled with expectation”; by him and by his pronouncement of the coming of Him who “will baptize [them] with the Holy Spirit and fire,” the song of joy is ignited in their hearts. He calls us all, by the Spirit that filled Isaiah, to “give thanks to the Lord, [and] acclaim His name.” It is he who “among the nations make[s] known His deeds, [who] proclaim[s] how exalted is His name.” And the souls of even tax collectors and soldiers turn to him in anxious anticipation.
And yes, what about us, brothers and sisters? Is the joy of Christ brimming over in our hearts, despite any situation? Do we hear the voice of the Baptist – and the prophets and the apostles – crying out His way of peace? And do we follow as the voice instructs? Indeed, the Lord is near; He is in our midst. Let us welcome Him with the purest of joy.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Head Over Heels, Turn Around" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, your Son is coming
and we should repent of all sin
that we might be ready to rejoice and give Him praise.
YHWH, the fire of the Spirit has come to us; John has proclaimed the light in our midst. Jesus, your Son, is now among us, and what should we do but rejoice?
O LORD God, holy is your NAME, and holy is the One whom you send to us. So holy is He that we are not worthy to kneel at His feet. For He reflects your greatness, O LORD; His light is your own. How can we stand in your overwhelming glory, except that in Him we receive your promised mercy in our soul?
What mercy you bring us this day, LORD God! What grace is ours in the word the Baptist speaks. For he proclaims the Christ come among us – he proclaims the salvation of your lowly ones.
We are but your servants, LORD, unworthy to wait on your only Son. Yet you bless us with your loving mercy and invite us to perfection in Him. And so, what can we do but rejoice?