Advent Meditation: December 10, 2022

30, 32, 42, 43
Isaiah 8:1-15 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18 Luke 22:31-38

Fear of violence surrounds these readings. It is demonstrated in a variety of forms from colonizing empires, floods, and stockpiling swords.

In Isaiah, King Ahaz and Judah fear the violence of military invasion from three separate nations. Isaiah names his child to reflect the threat, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, the spoil speeds, the prey hastens. The name signifies that the demise of two of the three invaders is fast approaching. In chapter 7 Isaiah introduces the first child, Immanuel, as a sign that God was present with Judah in its hour of threatening hostilities. Here in chapter 8 the first named child returns to remind Ahaz that the strength for facing this violence is found in trusting that God is with us.

In Luke, Jesus and his disciples fear the violent threat of the Roman authorities. As the soldiers of empire make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples have armed themselves. The threat for them is physical violence, arrest, and execution. Even though the one we know as Immanuel is with them, they are still fearful.

Fear of what comes next is common and still very much present. This season we can choose to live in fear or live into the hope that God is with us. Immanuel is here.

Immanuel remove our fear of what we know and what we do not know. Grant us peace that comes from the truth of your name. Amen.

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