Prepare to Listen. Light all 4 Advent candles and pray with thanksgiving: A child has been born for us, a son given to us.
Prayerfully Read Psalm 134
1Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
who stand by night in the house of the LORD!
2Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD.
3May the LORD, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.
Come, bless the LORD. This isn’t something we think about very often, at least not in the community I live in. Asking God to bless us is far more common. We feel blessed by God when good things happen; when covid-19 avoids us; when we experience prosperity, etc. The pray-ers of this psalm seem to have a different understanding. Twice they urge each other, as they make their way up to the temple, to bless the Lord and only once do they ask God to bless them.
How do feeling blessed by God and us blessing God relate? Obviously, we don’t bless God by giving God health and prosperity! There’s another way to understand this word, bless. The word comes from one that means ‘to kneel.’ Thus, when we bless God, we kneel before him in adoration and praise, in humility and awe. Nothing, maintains Teresa of Avila, matters more than our humility. Kneeling before God is one way to show humility. We bless the Lord when we acknowledge his presence and submit to whatever circumstances come our way.
When God blesses us, according to Eugene Peterson, “God gets down on his knees among us; gets on our level and shares himself with us” . Being blessed by the Lord isn’t about staying covid-19 free, being well-off or problem free. It’s experiencing the presence of God among us, even as the world spirals out of control.
“Lift up your hands to the Holy place and bless the Lord.” Practice this discipline during the day today.
Respond to Jesus
Blessed are you, O Lord, because you are present in the midst of my life today, both in the good and the bad and so I know that I too am blessed.
Go live obediently in the world, blessing the Lord.
 Peterson, E. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980, p. 185.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.