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Gloria PurvisDecember 24, 2021
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

A Reflection for the Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today’s Scripture passages fill me with hope and anticipation. They confirm that the Lord is trustworthy. He keeps his covenant. I think of his promises when I am unsteady. He will not forget, even if we do.

Throughout today’s Scripture readings, we are reminded of the Lord’s promise to David.

In the first reading:

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
...I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.”

Then in the Psalm, we hear :

I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.

The repetition creates excitement for me. When will this heir come?

Those who pray the Divine Office regularly will recognize the Gospel reading as the Benedictus, the Canticle of Zechariah, from Morning Prayer. The Gospel reading gives us an idea of the closeness of the heir’s arrival. The formerly mute Zechariah prophesies “he has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David.” Again we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to David. Zechariah also mentions the covenant with Abraham, so we also are reminded of God’s faithfulness all the way back to Abraham.

How long will it be before the heir appears? We can surmise it will not be long because Zechariah and Elizabeth’s newborn son, John, “shall be called the prophet of the Most High, [and] will go before the Lord to prepare his way.” The heir will be coming during the lifetime of John.

Hearing the Benedictus evokes a joyful feeling.

I think of the wonderment of those hearing the prophecy. For myself, hearing the Benedictus evokes a joyful feeling. In my home parish, I would raise my hand and wave it while bowing my head and nodding in approval when hearing this Gospel. I might even shout out an alleluia in the spirit of the psalmist’s words that declare “forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

I am reminded that throughout the generations God keeps his promise, and this consoles me. God is faithful even when we are not. His goodness to us is not impeded by our sins or doubts. I think of King David, who committed adultery and murder. I think of Zechariah, who doubted God's message delivered by the Angel Gabriel. His goodness allowed them to be punished and reconciled. He did not break his promise; he allowed them to come back to him. So, too, I think of how the birth of the Savior is the ultimate reconciling of man to God.

In our time, we face so much uncertainty. Danger, death, disbelief appears everywhere. We shall not be overcome. God has not abandoned us. He is faithful. The readings today remind us of this truth. Remember this and be of good cheer for he has overcome the world.

Get to know Gloria Purvis, host of "The Gloria Purvis Podcast"

1. Favorite Christmas Song/Hymn

It varies, but right now it is “What Child Is This” by Vanessa Williams

2. Favorite Christmas Tradition

Dressing the tree

3. Favorite Christmas Recipe

Charleston Chewies

4. Favorite Article Or Podcast You Produced This Year

All of them!

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