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Advent Devotion December 21

By: Pastor Karen Brau
Readings: Psalm 113, Genesis 25:19-28, Colossians 1:15-20

This is the Winter Solstice — an ancient celebration of the shortest day of the year. This is also the day that we honor the Homeless people who have died over the year with a city wide Memorial Service.

Psalm 113 tells us that God may sit high, but God looks with grace upon the lowly. The psalmist says this means that God brings relief for the poor, the needy and the homeless.

Genesis 25 tells the story of the birth of the twins Jacob and Esau, the children of Isaac and Rebekah. The boys are competitors from the start.

In Colossians 1, we hear about Christ as the image of God. And we learn that through Christ, all things are reconciled. Further, it’s the cross of Christ that brings peace to the world.

These are scriptures that come alive in our times.

This Solstice, we take God’s cue in Psalm 113 and gather with the poor, the needy and the homeless to offer dignity and grace to all the homeless who have died in the last year. We believe that God raises the sisters and brothers whose names we read aloud at our Annual Homeless Memorial Service.

In Genesis, the twin brothers offer the beginnings of a story of fighting brothers. This brings to mind a recent book by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence. Rabbi Sacks proposes that much of the world’s violence is an exaggeration of sibling rivalry, and he uses the story of Jacob and Esau as part of God’s teaching about moving from fighting to reconciliation. Read ahead in Genesis chapter 33 to remind yourself of the last encounter between the 2 brothers.

And it’s reconciliation for all humanity through Christ that is promised in Colossians 1. We surely are in a time in history where we need the good news of God’s reconciling grace.

Holy One, this day of Solstice, we ask that your reconciling love work its wonders in the day and in the night. Amen.

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