Thursday, December 4, 2014

Advent Day 5

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
- Genesis 15:1-6
Abram is one of the key figures in the Hebrew Bible. A righteous man, he listened to God and did what God told him to do. As a result, he was blessed with almost everything a person could want but with one exception: he and Sarah were childless and growing old. God had promised them a child, but it wasn’t forthcoming and Abram was starting to get worried. God again promised him a great reward but Abram dared to question it. God responded and Abram believed. Abram’s name was later changed to Abraham.
During Advent we usually consider the events from the annunciation to the nativity but here we see an event that provides a contrast. On the one hand we have the story of what would be an elderly couple desperately wanting a child and on the other a young girl who had no thought of one until an angel appeared to her with some rather unsettling news. In both cases, pregnancy and childbirth would seem to be impossible, the married couple due to age and the girl due to her youth and virginity.
As we journey through Advent we are given the opportunity to see some of the traditional stories in slightly different ways than we may have seen previously. Each of us has a history and some of that history might require revisiting. In addition to a journey of preparation and reflection, it may require us to see where we have perhaps doubted God’s promises to us or not lived up to the promises we have made to God.
Advent gives us an opportunity to do some soul-searching and rededication. It is just another way to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child.

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