Advent is a time of waiting with anticipation. Children visit Santa with their long lists. Adults may buy an extra lottery ticket to fuel their dreams. The biggest Christmas gift I ever received was one that never really physically happened, but was still real.
I received a call from one of our older members in an assisted living home. He was so excited that I could hardly make out what he was saying. "Pastor Nelson," he exclaimed, "I need to see you right away. You won't be sorry."
When I walked into his room he was beaming from ear to ear. "I have just won $1,000,000," he exclaimed, "And I am going to give $500,000 to the church." He showed me his letter from Publishing House Sweepstakes and sure enough, it declared him to be a winner. In his excitement, though, he had not read the small print that began with the word "if."
He believed that he was a rich man. Yet he didn't dream about indulging himself but rather, that he now had the means, his dream was to be God's partner in the world. In the language of the text, he would be God's partner in executing justice and righteousness in the land. I'll bet Santa never read such a request on any of his lists.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NRSV)
14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."