It is hard to wait for something we want. Perhaps that’s why we fill our Decembers with so much busyness and distraction. But it is especially hard to wait for something we desperately need. How do we wait faithfully when we feel desperate? Come hear from the gospel of Luke on this fourth and final Sunday of Advent.
Today it is those with a perpetual sense of spiritual need and spiritual hunger who live in the wonder of the Incarnation.
I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the mire and clay
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
How long to sing this song
3 For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” 4 For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. 5 Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”
7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
CONFESSION OF SIN:
Father, the light of your salvation shines in the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.
Yet we live as if your light cannot defeat darkness.
Forgive us for doubting your salvation.
Through your Spirit, you never abandon us; your name is Emmanuel, “God with us.”
Yet when life becomes difficult, we fear you have left us.
Forgive us for turning to other things for comfort.
Jesus, at your return you promise to wipe away all tears and heal all pain.
Yet instead of trusting you to restore your world, we take matters into our own hands.
Forgive us for doing what is right in our own eyes.
Lord, of these things we repent.
Help us to trust you and to live as those who reflect your light to the world,
ever-waiting for your return. Come, Lord Jesus!
SONG TO CONSIDER: