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Psalm 80; Isaiah 29: 13-24; Luke 1:39-48a (48b-56)

Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer:
The Rev. Micah Jackson, Advent Meditation
It’s become fashionable, in recent years, to be offended by people who are not preparing for 2016_advent_cover_largeChristmas “correctly.” People who sing carols or put up their trees “too early” or who show too much joy in the “secular” aspects of the season, like cookies and gift giving, are easy targets for these Advent purists. For them, these others are paying too much attention to the forms of Christmas, and not the meaning.
The prophet Isaiah is angry, too, but for another reason. By him, the Lord scolds those whose “worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote.” In other words, God is not pleased by anyone who comes to worship with the belief that they know how it should be done, even the Advent purists. The prophet promises that God “will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing. The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.” Isn’t that just the kind of thing God does in the Incarnation?
This year, as you prepare for the familiar experience of Christmas services, with the usual decorations and hymns, and pageant, try to get out of the pattern of rote worship that Isaiah warns us against. Try to see the shocking newness of the idea of God coming to us as a vulnerable, infant child, and be amazed.
Holy God, help us to come to you this Christmas with joy, wonder, and amazement in all you do for us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Rev. Micah Jackson, PhD
Bishop John Elbridge Hines Associate Professor of Preaching
Director of Comprehensive Wellness

micah_jacksonMicah Jackson is the Bishop John Hines Associate Professor of Preaching and serves as Director of Comprehensive Wellness. Professor Jackson joined the Seminary of the Southwest faculty in June 2008. His academic interests include the spiritual discipline of preaching, homiletic form, and postmodern construction of the relationship between preacher and congregation. His previous courses have ranged from “New Media in Worship and Preaching” to “Political Preaching” and “The Preacher’s Self.” Professor Jackson is a frequent instructor at the Episcopal Preaching Foundation’s Preaching Excellence Program and other workshops, having served since 2008. He is also the Chair of EPF’s Program Committee. He is a popular guest preacher and teacher at congregations and clergy gatherings throughout the diocese and country.

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