Advent Psalms: Singing our Hope
Advent means “coming.” It is a season to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The weeks of Advent precede the twelve days of Christmas celebration that begin on December 25.
In the time before Jesus was born, God’s people were in exile—slaves of the Roman Empire in their own land. They were suffering greatly, so they longed for the appearance of the Lord’s Anointed to save them. The season of Advent takes on this tone of exile. Thus it is a season characterized by both repentance and hope. There is a need for being honest, for facing up to what is wrong—in us and in our world. But there is also reason for expectant waiting—knowing that God will act to save the world through his king.
There is no better way to enter this season than to immerse ourselves in God’s own revelation—the Bible. These Advent readings are from Israel’s songbook—the Psalms. We will follow the pattern of the book of Psalms itself, as seen in the structure of its five books. Books One and Two focus on the rule of God’s king (psalms of David). Books Three and Four center on the time of Israel’s exile. Finally in Book Five we will find the joy that comes when God sends his new king and saves his people. The readings will cover all the days from December 1–24, including the four Sundays in Advent.
Our world has plenty of pain and the evidence of our many failures is all around. But God’s word to us is hope for restoration, leading to joy. The strong language of the psalms insists that God come and fulfill his promises. May you be filled with this insistent hope as we journey together to the time of his appearing!