category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 2

Advent 2023 cover

Monday, December 4

Psalm 79; Micah 4:1-5; Revelation 15:1-8

Looking for Hope and Action

I was initially asked to write an advent devotion via email. It was a typical ask email: “Hey! We’re doing this thing. We thought of you. Want to participate? Less than 500 words. Let us know! Thanks!” I read the final line, “If you are willing/able to contribute this year, we would supply you the Bible passages on which you may base your devotional thoughts,” but it did not register in my brain. I replied quickly and without hesitation, “Yes! Absolutely!” Thirty minutes later, I received the texts: Psalm 79; Micah 4:1-5; and Revelation 15:1-8. Destruction of Jerusalem and seven plagues. I will be honest, not the assigned reading and writing assignment I expected, nor was excited about, nor had hoped for regarding an advent devotional.

Christmastime for me is my favorite time of year, even without snow (you gotta have snow; I’m a midwesterner). The day after Thanksgiving, decorations, tree, wreaths, candles, music, all come out and are on 24/7. I love this time of year. Advent is about hope for me. Destruction, armies, and plagues (real or metaphorical) are not the first reflections of the season for me. As I read (and re-read) the assigned passages, it occurred to me that because Advent is about preparations and beginnings: Jesus born; made human; made flesh; these passages can also be read as hopeful. Yes, Psalm 79 starts out with destruction, but the passage ends with a vow of giving thanks. Revelation 15:1-8 begins with plagues waiting to be released on the earth, but it ends with the cloud of God’s glory. Phew! Hope!

Micah 4:1-5 is nothing but hope outlining the ultimate moment of God’s final restoration, offering that He will teach us His ways. There will be no more war; there will be no more poverty; there will be no more fear. Now, that’s an Advent devotional reflection of hope! This is the devotional passage for me, the kernel, the truth, the hope, the call to focus on this Advent. During the hustle and bustle of this season (cliché much?), what can we do to make this promise of no ignorance, no war, no poverty, no fear come closer to reality now? What can we do today, this moment, to put word into action?

Christmas is about the reality of Jesus becoming human, offering us a new direction, a new path, a new teacher who breaks from the old ways of the past. Jesus’ ministry was about action toward these goals, teaching us to turn the other cheek, to love God and our neighbor, to forgive freely, and to communicate constantly and sincerely with God.

So, as I reflect on these passages of hope during this Advent season, I pray that we all follow the lead of Jesus, both in his coming as a baby and his ministry as a man. We now embody the opportunity to demonstrate word into action. Where we find despair, we can provide hope.

Robert Prickett
Professor and Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 1

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 3

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