Sunday, December 19, 2021

Advent readings 2021 : Day 22


In which the exiles see eternity in the ordinariness of life


Genesis 9:12-15

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I set between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for everlasting generations: My bow I have set in the clouds to be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth, and so, when I send clouds over the earth, the bow will appear in the cloud. Then I will remember My covenant, between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a Flood to destroy all flesh…”


Qohelet 3:10-14

I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of man with which to busy themselves. Everything He has done aptly in its time. Eternity, too, He has put in their heart, without man’s grasping at all what it is God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing good in it but to be merry and to partake of good things in his life. And also every man who eats and drinks and enjoys good things in all his toil—this is a gift from God. I know that what God does will be forever. One cannot add to it and one cannot take away from it. And God has acted also that they should fear Him.


It is not surprising that the festivals of the Jewish people include celebrations of God’s deliverance out of times of great trouble: Passover, recalling the exodus from Egypt; Purim, recalling Queen Esther thwarting a genocidal plot to kill part of the Jewish community that chose not to return to Jerusalem but establish a diaspora; Hanukkah, remembering God’s miraculous intervention in the events of the desecration and reconsecration of the rebuilt Temple. Rainbows in times of rain. Hope for the rainy days in our own times. If we are to see God in our daily bread and wine, as we can learn to do, we also need the feast days and festivals, the great celebrations. As we prepare for the great, twelve-day-long feast of Christmas, may we see and know God with us in the more simple fare of Advent.


Biblical texts: Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary


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