Ezekiel 34:11 For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
A word that was originally spoken to people in exile has transcended time and context to become a word that can speak to us today. This speaks of a God who is like a faithful shepherd who will gather the scattered sheep, rescuing those who are lost and comforting the weak: “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak”. This is the good news of Christmas. However there is also the challenge to those who chose to enrich themselves by collaborating with the new unjust rulers: “the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.“
While Christmas is a time of celebrating a loving God who came to gather the lost sheep - it is also a time when we must remember that the love of Christmas is tempered by God’s passion for justice and righteousness. Jesus-followers are to care for the hungry before we sit down to our own Christmas feast.
Second Sunday in Advent
4. God is with us
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 32.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.