It’s the last Sunday in Advent. We’re rounding third (or fourth, if we’re talking Sundays) and heading for home this week. Get excited!
The Revised Common Lectionary Year C Advent readings focus a lot on John the Baptist and his life, and we don’t even get to Mary until week 4. We finally meet her and Elizabeth as they greet each other for the first time since the annunciation, and Mary delivers her Magnificat, magnifying and praising the Lord for the reversal of Israel’s fortunes. I imagine this is where much of our preaching will land as we look ahead to Christmas, but let’s look at what other homiletical opportunities we have in the readings.
We have Micah 5’s prophecy of a Davidic monarch who would usher in an era of peace for Judah. Micah’s context is that the Northern and Southern kingdoms were facing military threat from the Assyrians. Might there be some implications for our time, in which terrorism threatens peace the world over? It may be worth exploring.
Psalm 80:1-7 come from a prayer for Israel’s restoration. I’m noticing this perfect tension between today’s pain and tomorrow’s impending relief. I think it’s a great mood to set on the last Sunday of Advent, and some of us may even want to bring that into our Longest Night/Blue Christmas services.
Hebrews 10:5-10 talks about the corporeal reality of Jesus; God comes to us in flesh. “He was born to die,” is what is often said, right? You almost can’t help but look toward Easter with this text, and you’ll no doubt have to wrestle with atonement theory if this is where you’re being led to preach. I’m praying with you as you sift through this!
Where are you heading so far in your sermonizing? What texts reach out to you? What insights are popping up? Are you bringing in any of the Nativity texts? Let’s discuss!