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Advent Meditations: Sunday, December 23By Javier Alanis
Psalm 24, 29, 8, 84 • Isaiah 42:1–12 • John 3:16–21
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we draw near to the celebration of the birth of the Christ. We anticipate the joyful good news that will accompany the birth in a couple of days. John sums it up in the verse we all learned in Sunday school: “For God so loved the world that God gave the only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (3:16).
But there is a caveat to this generosity in the gospel that adds a tension we may have missed in our youth. The verses that follow indicate that those who live this truth will live in the light, but those who do not live it live in darkness and are condemned.
Church history teaches us to hold this tension in check, for at times, the church has been guilty of cultural and theological violence against those who do not share our belief system. At times, the church has been called to account for its errors in failing to love its neighbor with the same kind of prodigal love expressed in John 3:16. The church has a shadow side: we do not always live only in the light, but in the tension of light and darkness. We are saints and sinners with a blind spot. On this Sunday, we are invited to prepare ourselves for his coming by an examination of conscience, that we might live the truth of his love for all people.
Savior of the world, cleanse me from all unrighteousness that I may live the truth of your love for all people. Amen.
The Rev. Javier “Jay” Alanis, PhD, JD, ’92
Executive Director/Associate Professor of Theology, Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest
Adjunct Faculty – Senior Instructor
Seminary of the Southwest
Listen to Jay read his meditation and prayer:
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