category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 20

Friday, December 18

2 Samuel 6: 12–19: Hebrews 1: 5–14

For my wife, Laura, the giving of gifts is a source of joy as much as it is a way of expressing love. She thoroughly enjoys searching for gifts that are meaningful and wrapping them in a manner which intentionally adds to the message of the gift. The act of gift giving is not only relevant to Laura, but to all of us as Christians in that our Heavenly Father is the source of all good gifts. This is referenced in the readings for today.

In the first reading from Second Samuel, there is the famous scene where King David is dancing with joy and complete abandonment as the Ark of the Covenant is being brought to Jerusalem. And why not dance? The Ark of the Covenant contains those precious items that speak to God joining with humanity through his servant, Moses. The Ark of the Covenant is a publicly visible sign of the relationship between God and his people. It is a sign of God’s special connection with, and love for, Israel, and it contains a personal call to holiness for everyone. It is a gift that calls us to love God and neighbor.

The second reading from the letter to the Hebrews is a powerful declarative argument that Jesus is the messianic king. Jesus is the Lord of all. Our Lord himself is the culmination and fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The New Testament writer makes it clear that there is a “rank order” to the universe. There is a hierarchy to reality with Jesus at the top as God’s son worthy of worship and adoration. There is no other that could be higher. And rightly so. Who else can save us from our sins and failures to love? Only Jesus can. Jesus in his humanity and divinity is God’s gift to humankind. God gives himself to us in order to heal us of all our wounds.

The pairing of these readings is interesting. In the first reading, you have the anticipatory joy and excitement at seeing the “wrapped gift” from God displayed in the beautiful Ark of the Covenant as it is being brought to Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant indicates God’s presence and points to the greater reality yet to come in the birth of Jesus. In the second reading, you have the “open present” that is the revealed knowledge of Jesus. Jesus is both God and man, and he is the messianic king of heaven and earth.

In this season of Advent, it is important to remember that God has given us the gift of his Son and, through him, eternal salvation. In order to unwrap this gift and experience the manifestation of all that it offers, we must give our hearts to him, be open to his will, and love him and others with all that we are and all that we have. May you be reminded of this most precious gift today, throughout the season, and in all the days to come.

David Carscaddon
Dean, School of Psychology and Counseling Professor, School of Psychology and Counseling

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Advent Reflection: Day 21

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Advent Reflection: Day 19

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