In 1977, the Kodak camera and film company advertised their new Instamatic Camera as “the gift that keeps on giving picture after picture.” Of course, even photos fade with time. This Advent and Christmas season we turn our attention to selected Psalms that reveal God’s ultimate gift that truly keeps on giving, not just for this life but for eternal life. Martin Luther called the Psalms a “little Bible” for in them “is comprehended most beautifully and briefly everything that is in the entire Bible.” Each Psalm this season will unwrap the gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus at work in our everyday lives transforming us more and more into his likeness.
Sunday, November 28 – Advent is a season of expectant waiting. In Psalm 25 King David waits expectantly for God to guide and preserve him from his enemies because of His steadfast love. In our Gospel we see that love in person as Jesus enters Jerusalem and the crowds cry out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” In the face our enemies: sin, death, and the devil, Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He forgives all our sins and empowers us to wait patiently for his coming again in glory to make all things new forever.
Shout for Joy
Sunday, December 5 – “On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry, announces that the Lord is nigh!” Our Psalm begins “Shout for joy all the earth.” Although we are often tried and tested by the circumstances of life, in Jesus God has come to rescue humanity and bring us into a place of abundance (v. 12). Therefore we are inspired to “shout for joy” and marvel at the awesome deed of salvation accomplished on the cross and in the resurrection of Jesus.
Forgiven We Receive Peace
Sunday, December 12 – Questions, questions, and more questions! The psalmist wonders outloud, “Will you be angry with us forever” (v. 5)? John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another” (Lk 7:20)? Uncertainty often threatens to rob us of any peace in this life. Jesus reassures John. And in Jesus, the words of our psalm are fulfilled: “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Our sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus and peace with God is continuously restored.
Restored to Patience
Sunday, December 19 – For centuries the people of God waited for the words of the psalm to be fulfilled, “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” When Mary went to her relative Elizabeth the moment of God’s salvation had arrived and even the baby, John the Baptist, lept in her womb for joy (Luke 1:44). Patience does not come easily for us but we need it more than ever, especially this time of year. Restored again today we wait patiently for Jesus to come again in glory.
Redeemed by Goodness
Sunday, December 26 – God’s supreme goodness is revealed in all his works. But most especially in the work of our redemption. Lost and condemned he finds us and pays the ransom by sending his only Son. As Simeon and Anna greet the infant Savior with words of praise that lift us up. Our eyes have seen God’s salvation. We give thanks for Jesus’ work on the cross to conquer our sin and in the tomb to conquer death. “His praise endures forever” (Ps 111:10)!
Sunday, January 2 – Jesus went up to the temple as a boy and there astounded the learned religious leaders of his day. His understanding and performance of God’s Word is reflected in our Psalm for today. Through faith in him the wisdom to live well is revealed. Trusting in his never ending mercy that works our forgiveness we are empowered to love God’s word and meditate on it all the day, to be self-controlled, pursuing what is good and avoiding what is evil.