Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)
Advent Meditation by The Very Reverend Harry E. Krauss
“But how does it end? But how does it end?” A long, long time ago I occasionally baby-sat for the 7 year old son of some friends. He loved to be read to. But the minute I started a new book he insisted, “But how does it end? The charming voice of curiosity speaking.
That’s always encouraging, I think.
Yet the same question can be one of enormous anxiety. Everything is a mess. There is no place to turn. Covid19. A man who’s lost an election but won’t concede. No work. No money. No unity of purpose in our great yet hurting land. “But how does it end?” The voice of fear or frustration. That’s always sad and upsetting, I think.
But today with just five days to go we’re almost the end of what’s been our focus of reflection throughout Advent-tide, the coming of someone called Jesus.
Each one of today’s lessons points us toward this end.
As it unfolds Psalm 89 sings of God’s love and faithfulness and his covenant with King David. “I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations”
Samuel reminds us of what Nathan promised to King David, “Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.”
But grand words a truth do not make. The Biblical story from David to Mary was not a simple one. More often than not the end that was anticipated seemed not a welcome one at all. So we might ask, when we end up in the Gospel according to Saint Luke, today’s third lesson, where are we?
An end which seems absolutely absurd. You mean to tell me that God will impregnate a young girl, still a virgin, to give birth to a boy who will rule over the House of David forever? You must be kidding.
Make no mistake God has a great sense of humor, but this end is not a joke. The absurdity of this chat between Gabriel and Mary gives us a pretty good hint that this king is going to be equally absurd. Wield a sword? No. Compete for first place? No. Overlook the poor, the lonely, the captive, the outcast? No. Resent the weight of his calling? No. End up on a cross to die for us? Yes. Is this how it ends? Actually, No!!!!!!!
This end is really a beginning and let us praise the Lord for it. Out of the store of his grace, love, and mercy God puts an incredible present under our trees. Let’s get up before dawn on the 25th. Let’s drag our families out of bed. Let’s call our friends on the phone or FaceTime or Zoom. Let’s scream, “Look what we got. Jesus Christ. The One who no matter what is swirling around us, good, bad, indifferent, promises to be with us always and holds out freedom from sin and life eternal!”