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This is the 12th in a series of daily Advent reflections based on the Daily readings. To see the other posts in this series click on the Advent Reflections link above, or in the right-hand sidebar under categories.
Advent is about being joyful in the anticipation of the coming of the light of the world
The beginning of things can only happen with the end of what was before. That is part of what today’s passage is about.
There are many things that bring me joy in God’s creation. These images are just a few of them.
Today’s reading is Matthew 11:7-15 Click on this link to read the text.
Today’s reading is the continuation of a narrative about John the Baptist. At this point Herod Antipas has thrown John into prison. Herod thought of himself as the King of the Jews. John, from prison, had sent some messengers to ask Jesus if he was “the one who was to come”. Jesus sends back the messengers to tell John what they had seen and heard, “The Blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have good news brought to them…” This message was about the ancient scriptures being fulfilled by Jesus’s ministry.
After the messengers left, Jesus told the crowds about how great John was. He told them John was the greatest in a long line of prophets. But that job was now completed. It was a new beginning – a new time. So from that day, anyone who follow’s Jesus is part of the Kingdom of God which had broken into the world. It would have been very dangerous for Jesus to tell the people directly who he was – and in any case, it wasn’t his way. He wanted people to listen, watch and think. He was inviting them to make up their own minds, because the Kingdom of God doesn’t work by demands, or force or coercion. The Kingdom of God is about self-sacrifice, invitation, servant leadership. Christians need to be very careful that we don’t turn people off by shouting that we alone have the truth. We need to get people intrigued by the Kingdom through our servant ministry, by our love for neighbour. We need to be ready to quietly and joyfully tell people (who are interested) just what the Good News of Christ is all about. This, I believe, should be done in humility and with kindness.
The season of Advent is about waiting for the Kingdom of God to be fully realized – to be completed. This completion will be brought about and signified by the return of Christ our Saviour and the true King. I have wonderful news, you are invited to be part of this. It’s your choice.