Advent Devotional: Day 3
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
by Dorothy Akoto
Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!
During Advent, we focus on four major aspects of our Christian life, which are symbolized by the four candles that surround the Christ candle. These aspects represent the Hope, Peace, Love and Joy that can be found in Jesus Christ. The message of Psalm 146 appears to appropriately capture the entire meaning of the season of Advent in a few verses.
Whereas almost all the 150 Psalms are attributed to a particular Psalmist or group of Psalmists, Psalm 146 is titled “anonymous” meaning its author is unknown. This leaves the Psalm open for each of us (particularly Christians) to appropriate its message. In the first two verses (1-2) and the last part of the last verse (10), the Psalmist literally explodes in joy by praising the Lord with his soul and his entire life. The Psalmist reminds us of our mortality for which matter we should not put our trust in humans and admonishes us to put our hope in the Lord God, the Creator of all things. Parts of verses 7-9, capture the portfolio or mission of Jesus Christ as declared in Luke 4:18-19. The Lord is the one who stands with the oppressed, hungry, prisoner, blind and those who are bowed down, like the widow and orphan. He frustrates the ways of the wicked but loves the righteous. These verses constitute a major source of the Hope, Peace, Love and Joy that we have in Jesus Christ during Advent. We are called to reciprocate this message through praise, trust and acknowledgment of the Lord’s great acts.
As we go through this Advent season, the question that we can ask ourselves in line with the message of Psalm 146 perhaps, should be “What is the world waiting for?” Perhaps, this Advent season, the world today, like the world before the birth of Jesus did more than 2000 years ago, is also waiting for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who freely offered and continues to offer Hope, Peace, Love and Joy as he did long ago.
The other question we might be asking is “What do we do while we wait?”
Dear Lord, as we wait, we pray that you will give us the desire to praise you with our souls and our whole lives, the grace to acknowledge our mortality, trust and show gratitude to you, our Creator, who stands with us when we feel rejected and alone. Lord, strengthen us to instill Hope, Peace, Love and Joy into the situations around us that are yearning for them, in Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving. Amen.