Fourth Sunday of Advent: Promises to Keep

Photo by Alex Harden, licensed under Creative Commons.

Advent is a time of promise and a time of waiting. Two verses from the Magnificat, Mary’s song in Luke’s Gospel, describe a future that does not yet exist. These verses voice promises of a future we still hope and wait for. 

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

Over the past five months, 7.8 million Americans have fallen into poverty. That is “the biggest jump in a single year since the government began tracking poverty 60 years ago.” Poverty has risen most rapidly for people of all races with a high school education or less, for Black families, for households with children. 

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

As of tonight, Congress still has not passed new aid to those newly impoverished by the pandemic. As of tonight, one in five Minnesota children does not have enough food to eat.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

Advent is a time of waiting. Mary waited for the birth of Jesus. 

We, too, wait: for Christmas, for a new year, for a vaccination, for a new administration. 

Mary did more than wait. Unmarried, soon to become a teenage mother, alone and unsure of her future, she packed up and went to the home of her cousin Elizabeth. After spending time with Elizabeth, she returned home and married Joseph. With the baby nearly due, they made the difficult journey to Bethlehem.   

We, too, are called to do more than wait. 

In a season of waiting, we are called to act: to demand that Congress to give hope and help to the hungry, to bring down the powerful and lift up the lowly.

In a season of giving, we are called to give, not just to our families and friends, but to those waiting in long lines at food shelves, to those who do not know where their next rent or mortgage payment will come from, to those sleeping under freeway bridges or in tents along the railroad track, to our neighbors and community members in desperate need. 

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