1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
In Jan Richardson’s book, Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas (2011), she says, “Advent seems as much a place as a season.” Accordingly, her text takes us through a succession of ‘doors’ inspired by the Advent calendar tradition wherein we find behind each ‘door’, “some small gift ….” As Richardson reminds us, we have opened these Advent ‘doors’ many times before: “This is a season of deep memory, a time to hear again the story of the God who … entered this world to walk with us.” The readings for today invite us to remember with love and gratitude, key facets of the perennial story of God-with-us.
The first ‘door’, Jeremiah 33:14-16, recalls that the coming of Jesus is the fulfillment of an ancient promise of salvation. The second ‘door’, Psalm 25:1-9, leads us into the Psalmist’s prayer for wisdom and truth from a loving God who has always been our greatest teacher. The context for the third ‘door’, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, is the persecution of the early Christians in Thessalonica. Paul’s message to these Christians is that relationships are of prime importance, and that only loving discipleship can sustain Christian community in the face of adversity. The fourth ‘door’, Luke 21:25-36, reminds us that there will always be signs of God-with-us, and that our role is to be alert for these signs, and to renew our embracing of the God who enters our listening hearts.