Third Sunday in Advent

Now is the time to prepare for the Coming of the Messiah this Advent Season.  Meet us here each day of Advent where we will be posting a blog written by members of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem,  representing an intergenerational sampling of contributors as they reflect on the scripture selections from the Daily Lectionary Advent readings from the Book of Common Worship. If you would like to download a copy of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Advent Devotional, CLICK HERE.

LECTIONARY READING: Amos 9:11–15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3, 13–17; John 5:30–47

Advent is a time of waiting—waiting to celebrate the coming of Jesus on Christmas morning and waiting for Jesus to return. It’s a time of hope-filled longing—longing for Jesus to make all things right and new. The kingdom of God has broken into this world and Jesus is at work redeeming. Yet, we long to see that redemption made complete.

Today is the third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of joy. Today we embrace the joy that comes with Christ’s redemption. We remember with joy God’s promises that have been fulfilled. We rejoice that other promises will be fulfilled in the future. The prophet Amos emphasized God’s judgment. God would judge all nations for their sins, even Israel. Yet, judgment is not the final word. Amos concludes with promises of redemption and restoration. Israel will be restored and renewed, experiencing fruitfulness and rootedness.

These promises, written to the people of Israel, are fulfilled for all the people of God, Jew and Gentile alike. In Jesus the Messiah, our sin is forgiven. In Jesus we, too, experience redemption and restoration. Reflect on Amos’s imagery: how have you experienced the fruit of restoration in your life? How has God kept his promises to our body?

Prayer: Thank you, Father God, that all your promises are “Yes” in Christ. We rejoice in your redemption, your restoration, and your promises. We wait for the coming of Jesus with joyful expectation. Amen.

-Anna Moseley Gissing