Advent and Christmas are seasons for mismatches. There are mismatches between assumed entitlement and the summons to bear fruit appropriate to the purposes of God, between our dysfunctional world and Jesus' readiness to rehabilitate. There are mismatches between our sense that the world is abandoned and the declaration that "God is with us," and between the establishment claims of Jerusalem (and many other citadels of power) and the lean claim of the vulnerable village of Bethlehem that shatters all such establishment claims.
These readings make clear that the truth being enacted and celebrated in these seasons fits none of our expectations and refuses our conventional domestications. We are invited to linger over these mismatches. We are invited to notice that the conventional ways of the world are incongruous with the good news, the new revolutionary gifts of God.
Walter Brueggemann, a Sojourners contributing editor, is professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
[ December 5 ]
Are We the "Special Ones"?
Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12
The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptizer culminates with the endorsement of heaven: "This is my son, the Beloved." The sentence, from Psalm 2:7, offers approval of a king of the Davidic line. The quote in Matthew affirms God's blessing for the coming rule of Jesus.