Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship.
About this Season and Series: Advent – “The WAIT” – Advent is a time of considering the wisdom of “delayed gratification”. We recognize that there is wisdom and health that comes from waiting to be contented. Advent shows us a picture of that wisdom as we wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come.
About the week starting December 20th: Fourth Sunday in Advent – The CONTENTMENT – It seems too early to be “content”, doesn’t it? Before the presents are open. But that is the message of the 4th Sunday of Advent, that we can be content now. Law: We feel that we can only be content when a thing has happened, and so we have a hard time trusting. Gospel:God assures us that we can be content with His promise, and that His word is so sure that having the promise is like having the thing itself.
Reflecting on the Readings (readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)
Micah 5:2-5– The Promise of Peace – Micah is literally writing with the thought of the Assyrian king Sennacherib camping with his armies outside of the city gates, holding Jerusalem under siege. Yet Micah speaks of God’s promise of a day for Israel when they will have a great leader who grants them security and peace. What are the areas of your life that are “under siege” and how does God’s promise speak to those experiences of yours?
Psalm 80:1-7– The Promise of Restoration – This Psalm was written as a communal lament over the loss of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Southern Kingdom, now a separate country due to lifetimes of civil war since Solomon, mourns the loss of their brothers to the North. Even though they had been enemies, they are still tied by blood. The Southerners cry out to God and ask for His promise of restoration for them. Who are the people in your life who mimic this relationship of “rival brother states”? How do you respond when something happens to them? How might you pray for them?
Hebrews 10:5-10 – The Promise of Rest – How many people shy away from church because it seems to be a place of drudgery and work instead of a place of enjoyment and rest? The writer of Hebrews clarifies that God has made His own sacrifice and offering – “a Body of you have prepared for me” – the Body of His own Son, Jesus Christ. How might you find enjoyment and rest in Him and His Church this week?
Luke 1:39-59– The Promise of A New Age – The elderly mother of the last prophet of the Old Covenant, John the Baptist, and the young mother of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ, meet. In their meeting, we see the merging of two worlds, and the turning of the old age into the new age. As we draw closer to a new year, what promise and expectation does God hold out for you?
Living the Lectionary Ideas
Character: The character of contentment is an important one for a Christian. Through the knowledge of God’s love and care for us, we can become content with even the most meager situations in life. How might you foster this character in yourself this week?
Discipline: Tithing is a Christian discipline that comes from the character of contentment. In order to embrace this discipline, it is necessary for us to do the work of budgeting. At the close of this year, looking into the next, take some time this week to budget – and to plan to tithe.
Knowledge: The prophet Micah is an immensely interesting person set in an interesting time for Israel. Often, we don’t learn about the context of the lives of the minor prophets. What might you do in order to learn some more about this prophet?