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Advent Devotional for Tuesday, December 8
• Revelation 1:1-16
Some folks may question why a reading from the Book of Revelation is included in an Advent devotional. “Isn’t John’s Revelation about the end of the world? What does that have to do with Christmas?” Two points to be made here: 1) Yes, the book of Revelation is about the future—but it is also about the here and now. 2) This apocalyptic writing has everything to do with how we experience the God who comes to us at Christmas.
In today’s reading, the prologue and initial vision, John uses one particular phrase twice. Whenever that happens we recognize it as a clue worth paying attention to. John uses the phrase “Him who is, and who was, and who is to come” (1.4 and 1:8) as a threefold name for God. Obviously this is a reference back to Exodus 3:14 where we read about God revealing the divine name to Moses as “the one who is.” This threefold name for God is repeated several other places in the Book of Revelation, thus emphasizing its importance for the understanding of the reader. We are being told that this revelatory vision is about the God who was with us back then, is still with us today, and shall be with us in the future; the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
During this season of Advent, as we prepare our hearts and homes for the annual celebration of Christmas, we recognize that Advent is a time for looking back at the past, being fully present in the here and now, even as we anticipate with longing hearts a fuller and more joyful tomorrow. Our God is “Emmanuel,” and our celebration of Christmas testifies to our belief that God was with us, is with us, and shall be with us forever and ever.
O Lord, Our God, we confess that you are the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all. As we reminisce about days gone by, even while preparing to once again celebrate the birth of your Son, help us to be faithful in our remembering, celebrating, and anticipating your presence amongst us. Amen.
For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.
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