Editor's note: "A pandemic advent: the arrival of a Savior for all" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Ann Arbor community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
November 28 – The not so ideal
Isaiah 2:1–22, 1 Peter 1:13–25
I have always appreciated this particular weekend of the year. Of course, many of us (including my family) celebrated Thanksgiving in the past few days. After the turkey leftovers are eaten, this becomes the weekend where we pull out the Advent and Christmas bins and begin transforming our home. When Kristy and I were first married, we stuffed a much larger-than-would-fit real Christmas tree into our small condo living room. These days, we have settled for a low maintenance artificial tree.
In an ideal world, the decorating process would go smoothly. Every one of our kids would cooperate. There would be no fighting, no arguing, and no chaos. The house would change from fall decorations to Christmas in a matter of moments. That ideal is so far from reality. Truthfully, we are fortunate if we have the artificial tree properly placed with all lights working and a minimal number of broken ornaments displayed by the end of the weekend.
Life is also far from the ideal. Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel fell short of God’s ideal. In fact, during the time of Isaiah the prophet, the Southern Kingdom of Judah filled its land with idols and false expectations of an ideal life. Isaiah expresses that their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures (Isaiah 2:7a). The reality of the depravity of God’s chosen people is not to be underestimated. Nor is our reality of our own depravity. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
As we begin this season of Advent, one of the more penitential times of the year for believers in Christ, we reflect on the promises of God and also the hope that is ours in Jesus. Advent gives us space to acknowledge our unfaithfulness, our failings, and our shortcomings. Yet it is for that reason that we long for the arrival of a Savior for all.
He is the Savior who rescues us not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18b-19a). Our reality in Christ is a reality of hope and redemption.
REV. DR. RYAN PETERSON is the Vice President of Administration at Concordia University Ann Arbor and has served at Concordia since 2013
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