Friday: Psalm 84, 86; Isaiah 64; Luke 10.1-25

From: Leah Knowles

When I was young and being raised in the Baptist tradition, I was taught about the second coming of Christ. Undoubtedly stemming from a fear of dying, but also from the stubborn confidence of children, I declared to my mother that Jesus would return during my lifetime. My love of the Left Behind series probably had something to do with it too. I would watch the sky out my bedroom window, determined to be the rare person who was ready to see our savior coming on the clouds.

Something deep down in me still expects this cinematic, triumphant, magical vision to appear and make things better. In this world full of anguish and injustice, I’ve been tempted by deism and grown skeptical that God will “render the heavens and come down… and cause the nations to quake before him.” Like this fickle passage in Isaiah, life on earth seems to come down to a constant back and forth between pain and joy, hope and despair, sin and redemption.

And yet Christ did come. He did render the heavens in the ultimate act of selfless love. He also comes to us in less dramatic ways—in answered prayers which take us by surprise and for which gratitude always seems delayed.

Expect him to come and reveal his power to you this Advent. And be grateful when he does.

I am thriving in a little harbor town on the North Shore with Ryan, Aurelia, Asher, and Hermes the pug.

Thursday: Psalm 81, 84; Isaiah 63; Luke 9.51-end

Variations on a theme of Triumphal Entry
By Isaiah 63 and Luke 19 with observations from Sarah Baker

The Lord comes in majesty…of different sorts:
Isaiah: “Who is this who comes from Edom with garments of glowing colors…this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?
Luke: They brought [the colt] to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.

The Lord comes in righteous judgment:
Isaiah: “I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath....
Luke: Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling….

And, knowing what’s ahead, He still makes a Triumphal Entry.
Isaiah: “For He said, ‘Surely, they are my people, sons who will not deal falsely.’ So He became their Savior.”
Luke: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out.’ When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it.”

And we rejoice at our salvation.
Isaiah: “I shall make mention of the lovingkindness of the Lord, the praises of the Lord.
Luke: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

I live in Cambridge with Jonathan and a barrel cactus named Calvin. Both are prickly.

Wednesday: Psalm 119.89-128; Isaiah 62; Luke 19.11-28

From: Megan Pinckard

"You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you..."

Sometimes, oftentimes, I forget that I am known.

Even with the onslaught of social media, certain friends forget about me. Bosses and co-workers ignore me. Even my dearest and darlingest loved ones will fall silent on the days, during the moments, that I especially need a kind word. More than that, I want to be seen as I am, with heavy or withered heart, and accepted.

There are many miracles where the scriptures are concerned, but perhaps one of the greatest to me is that Christ calls each of us by name. He sees, and he knows, and he calls--come. Better yet, he gives greater names, ones we do not deserve but need, ones that describe whom we were created to be, what we were made to do. He did the same for Mary. From child to chosen to mother. Favored one, he called her.

We, too, are favored. Mary carried little Christ; we, we ourselves are little Christs. What a miracle. What a miraculous, wondrous, ridiculous fact. What a reason for my soul, my blood, and my bones to magnify the Lord.

I have the hands of a third grader and the soul of a fifty year old. I buy toys and children's books for a living.