Steve has preached it repeatedly: Advent is a time for waiting.
But what do we do while we wait?
The season of Advent gives us time to reflect on the character of God.
What kind of LORD do we worship? How does He present Himself to us? How does He prioritize His actions in the world? Where and how does He choose to expend his divine energy?
Psalm 146:5-10 from this week's Lectionary passages gives us an idea.
In verse 7 we read that God “executes justice for the oppressed”, “gives food to the hungry”, and “sets the prisoners free”.
God cares most for those whom society has marginalized, set aside, and in so doing, has given itself permission to ignore.
In verse 8 we read that God “opens the eyes of the blind” and “lifts up those who are bowed down”.
God cares most for those who have been robbed of sight - both literally and spiritually - and for those whom life has worn down to the point where they no longer bother to look.
In verse 9 we read that God “watches over strangers” and “upholds the orphan and the widow”.
God cares most for those who are made to feel unwelcome and for those who lack the familial support that so many of us take for granted.
But perhaps we shouldn’t limit our reflection only to God. Maybe reflecting on God’s character can lead us to reflect on our own.
Given that we’re created in the image of God, aligning our character with His is likely the most efficient path towards being rightly-related - i.e. righteous - towards God.
So if God cares about the oppressed, the hungry and the imprisoned, shouldn’t we? How are we as faithful followers battling injustice, reducing hunger and freeing the wrongly-accused?
If God cares about the blind and the burdened, shouldn’t we? How are we as disciples of Christ aiding the infirm and helping to guide those in search of God’s grace towards their goal?
If God cares about the strangers, orphans and widows, shouldn’t we? How are we as children of God welcoming new arrivals to our family and aiding the members of our family who’ve lost members of their own?
None of that work is easy, and we’ll likely fail as much as we succeed. But there is always hope and support in God.
A hope that is spelled out in verse 10:
“The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!”
And so we wait… and we reflect.