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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

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Zechariah's blessing gives us a short synopsis of what we celebrate during Advent. At the heart of our celebration is the God of Israel, a God who cares for and redeems us by raising up a Savior from the line of David.

As the prophets promised, this God shows mercy by saving us from all the destructive patterns that damage and distort our lives. And this God empowers us to inhabit our lives with a holiness and a righteousness that buttress against further dysfunction.

As this happens, we too, like John the Baptist, become God's prophets. We announce and prepare the way for the Lord's coming. We give people knowledge of salvation: the forgiveness of sins that upends our destructive patterns. As God's mercy permeates the spaces of our lives, a new dawn breaks in, within, and around us. Light shines. Our destructive patterns are exposed and healed. What replaces them are practices that lead to peace.

Dear God, help us to use this Advent season as a way to test and exercise your promises in Jesus. Show us your mercy and save us from our destructive patterns so that we can serve you with holiness and righteousness throughout the day. Amen.

Lois Malcolm, '89
Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

Luke 1:68-79 (NRSV)

68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."


This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.