Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NRSV)
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness.'
Winter isn't officially here yet, but already I'm longing for spring and the promise of new life. Martin Luther once wrote, "Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime."
In this passage, Jeremiah is bringing a word of hope and promise that we, as fragile human beings, long to hear. While our context is different and we do not have invading armies in our land, we are still in need of words of hope and promise. Many of us are experiencing grief, sadness, and loneliness, and therefore yearn to hear the Good News of God's love, justice, and hope.
When I was in seminary at Andover Newton Theological School, I tried diligently to make it to chapel since it was one of the few times in my busy life that I felt I could listen and hear God. At one service, the preacher urged us all to be "ambassadors of hope." We are called to be ambassadors of hope and promise in a world often filled with fear, uncertainty, and sadness.
Spring is not here yet, but Advent is, and in the midst of darkness, we are called to speak words of hope, love, and justice. The light is about to break in. Hope will erupt. A branch will sprout again. God's promises will be fulfilled. Advent is here.
God of love and promise, the days are short and the nights are long, and we are searching for your light. We need your light of love, hope, and promise to fill our hearts and minds so that we may better be your faithful disciples. Encourage us always to be your light in the world. Amen.