Thursday of the first week in Advent

Isaiah 26.1-6; Psalm 118.1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27 (117 LXX); Matthew 7.21, 24-27

Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord is the everlasting rock. (Is 26.4)
Give thanks the the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man. (Ps 118.1, 8)
…everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rains came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall; it was founded on rock. (Mt 7.24-25)
. . .
Some days it is difficult to see any connection between the readings, and some days I fail entirely. Today is not one of those days. Just the opposite: the theme of God’s steadfast love and absolute and complete reliability jumps off the page.
As I write this, the snow blows past my window. Outside, all the evidence is that winter has come, and Christmas is just around the corner. Inside–not inside the house (my children are, of course, thinking of nothing else), but in my mind and heart–it is more like Narnia under the spell of the White Witch: always winter and never Christmas.
I am tempted to say that I am challenged by these readings, challenged to believe that God is a God who keeps promises, and to look ahead to Christmas in the sure knowledge that Christ has come and Christ will come again. But that’s not what faith is, is it? Faith in the coming of the Lord isn’t like trying to overcome fear of the dark, or pushing yourself to reach the top of the hill you’re climbing. the prayer of faith is always, ‘I believe; help my unbelief’.
What do I want for Christmas? my seven-year-old asks, writing all our letters to Santa for us. I want to receive again the gift of faith, and to trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is the everlasting rock.
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