December 2, 2020
December 2, 2020
In the Jewish Sabbath prayer, the mother prays at the table, “Blessed art thou, Adonai, Mighty God, Creator of the universe. Thou hast hallowed us with mitzvah and commanded us to kindle the light of Shabbat.” Reflecting on these words, we remember that mitzvah refers to the law of the Torah, but this means more than obeying commandments; it means living the revealed will of God—holy living. In this spirit, the mother lights the candles, and the light of Shabbat – the peace of God, the re-creation of our world – breaks through the clouds of fear and unrest.
In our own time of turmoil and strife, our Advent observance reminds us of the power of God to bring light. The light of Jesus that shone brightly in ancient Bethlehem is with us and will come to us in all its glory. Our task is to know Jesus, shut out the false prophets, recognize the signs of God’s coming, and begin now to live in the reign of God’s peace (Matt 24:23-35).
Lighting Advent candles, like lighting Sabbath candles, reminds us of our Creator’s intention for the life of the world God loves: “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- For many of us this is a particularly dark winter. How can lighting candles this Christmas remind us of God’s purposes for us and all creation?
- The commandments give us the assurance of God’s intentions. What did Jesus say was the greatest commandment? What is Jesus’ New Commandment (John 13:34)?
On “Day 3” we pray as we sing:
O come, O come, great Lord of might, [Adonai], who to thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
in ancient times didst give the law, in cloud and majesty and awe.
Refrain: “Rejoice, Rejoice . . .”