Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent - December 10


Psalm 30, 32, 42, 43

Haggai 2:1-19

Revelation 3:1-6

Matthew 24:1-14

Just as an earlier collection of passages focused on the beginning and the end, today’s passages have both rejoicing and grief. Jesus foretells the fall of the temple in Jerusalem and the deaths of many of his followers while the psalmist rejoices in blessings from God following a time of troubles.

Today’s Matthew passage is one of those passages when Jesus does not mince words. He does not speak through a story. He tells those listening exactly what is going to happen in the near time to him and later to the Temple building and to them. It is one of those “smack upside the head” moments Jesus has from time to time. His ministry was coming close to a close and there was no time for debate about His message and He clearly explained what His followers would be experiencing following his crucifixion.

Jesus never said it would be easy. He just promises that it will be good in the end.

The psalmist in Psalm 30 brings us back to that ultimate hope. In verse 5, he reminds us, “For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I do not know why it seems so much easier to cling to bad news and dwell on the worst things can be. We have such a tendency to catastrophize everything at the least hint of trouble when events rarely merit such a response. Jesus and the psalmist help us keep even the rough times, and there will be rough times, in perspective.

Joy does come in the morning.