Advent and the Winter Solstice

A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Numbers 24:17; Genesis 49:7 and Isaiah 9:7

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” I know it’s trite, and cliché, but this time of year in New England reminds me of the truth in this statement. It is wholly (or is it holy?) appropriate that the church has placed the celebration of Christ’s first and second advents at this time of year. I’m reminded of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. In the film, the people of Rohan are pinned by Saruman’s uruk-hai against a dark mountain in a crumbling fortress. There was hope, however, in the last words of Gandalf to Aragorn, “Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.” When hope was lost, and the only choice facing King Theoden was a suicidal ride into ruin, their savior arrived with a host of Rohirrim to break the dark horde.

We hope not in the words of a fictional wizard but in the precedent and promise of the King of Kings. His precedent was set as the Morning Star rose to a cradle full of hay. Tonight as the sun is at its lowest and the night it’s darkest, we look forward to the promise that the light will one day break the blackest shadow at the final ascent of the star of Jacob.

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