Advent 3: Sunday, December 14

Readings: Psalm 126   /  1 Thessalonians 5:16-24   / John 1:6-8, 19-28

Advent 3: In this third week of Advent our minds turn to joy. There is no greater joy than an authentic, personal, conversation relationship with God. He created us for, and desires such a relationship with us. Our Gospel reading this week says that John the Baptist was preparing the way for Jesus by “making straight the paths for the Lord”. Sabbath rest has that effect on the human soul—it prepares a way for the Lord to be especially present to us.

But Brueggemann rightly holds before us the ever-present pressure and compulsion to produce more, perform better and consume more. This coercion surrounds our lives, kills our joy and makes the paths in our hearts crooked.

Pharaoh is dead; Jesus defeated “the powers”. Why then are we still so often imprisoned? Who or what is your equivalent of Pharaoh?

Brueggemann writes: “People who keep Sabbath live all seven days differently.” What do you think he means—what vision does he mean to offer?

Brueggemann writes: “Sabbath is not simply the pause that refreshes. It is the pause that transforms.” Can you envision how daily and weekly pauses that are rooted in a growing trust of God might transform your whole person?