Christmas Reflection: Jesus is the Key of David

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I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;

what he opens, no one will shut, what he shuts, no one will open.

Isaiah 22:22

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Think about the times in your life when God has opened or closed a door for you unexpectedly.

Going Deeper

Read Matthew 16:15-19, and Revelation 3:7-8.

The image of Jesus as the Key of David brings to mind the old saying “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” Have you seen doors closed in your life—paths you planned to take that suddenly became unavailable to you?

There’s a quote from the Lee Roy Parnell song “I’m Holding my Own” that I see as a rephrasing of the old saying. It goes like this: “There’s two sides to every door.” I like that version. When a door closes, instead of looking for an open window or another way out, I need to stop and look around. Maybe I’m already right where I’m supposed to be.

Jesus, thank you for your guidance in my life. Thank you for opening and closing all of the right doors. I’m confident that you know what’s best for me.

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Advent Reflection: Who is Jesus?

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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.

They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:5

Which of the titles for Jesus resonates with you? Why is that title particularly meaningful?

Going Deeper

Read Isaiah 9:1-6.

Speaking in the eighth century B.C., Isaiah offered hope and a promise of God’s provision to a people who were scared and turning to neighboring countries for safety and protection. While the timing of the arrival of the Prince of Peace may not have been what Isaiah and the people of Judah expected, the Lord was faithful in fulfilling his promise.

Isaiah offers four titles for Jesus:

Wonder-Counselor

God-Hero

Father-Forever

Prince of Peace.

Below are some other Biblical titles/descriptions of Jesus.

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Select one or two of the titles for Jesus and reflect on what they mean for your life and your relationship with Christ.

Advent Reflection: You are called!

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Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”

“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

Isaiah 6:8

Where is God calling you today? Will you go?

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Going Deeper

Read Isaiah 6:1-8.

Over and over in the Bible, we read stories of people being called: prophets anoint young boys who will become kings; Jesus invites fishermen and tax collectors to follow him, and they do; Mordecai challenges Esther to speak up for her people, stating “perhaps it was for a time like this that you became queen” (from Esther 4:14); and God calls Isaiah with the rather leading question “Whom shall I send?”. It may seem like “the call” is only for kings, prophets, and priests. And maybe that’s true—because at Baptism we were all called to share in Christ’s roles as priest, prophet, and king.

Each one of us receives many calls in a lifetime. Through Baptism, we are called to love God and our neighbors. The vocation to which we are called (marriage, religious life, priesthood, dedicated single life, etc.) shows us the setting in which we will live out our call to love. We may also be called to different jobs, missions, or service activities at different times in our lives.

Have you felt a pull, or call to something different in your life? Pray about that pull you are feeling. Open yourself to God’s plan, trusting in his wisdom.

Think about the words as you sing along with this familiar hymn.

Advent Reflection: God’s Generosity

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“For the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’ ”

I Kings 17:14

Recall a time when God blessed you with an abundance you did not expect.

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Going Deeper

Read I Kings 17.

When I was planning to transition from working full time to part time in order to have more time to exercise my charisms, I was concerned that my decrease in income might significantly limit my ability to share my money with deserving individuals and organizations. But God had something different in mind. The hospital where I was working didn’t have any part-time openings. So I left the hospital and took a part-time position at a nursing home, where my hourly pay was significantly greater. God provided with unexpected generosity, and I was able to continue to financially support organizations that do so much good in our community.

The widow of Zarephath believed that she was preparing the last meal for herself and her son before they would starve. Yet she trusted God and his messenger, and prepared some bread for Elijah first. God rewarded her generosity, providing her with a bottomless jar of flour and jug of oil until the drought was over.

Have you ever been surprised by God’s generosity? Write a letter of thanks to God.

Prepare Your Heart to Celebrate Christ’s Birth

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There are several places in the Bible that call us to reflect on God’s faithfulness to his people throughout history (for example, Psalm 136). I am offering daily meditations this Advent based on the Jesse tree. As we remember how God showed his love for us from the moment of creation, I invite you to reflect on how God has been moving in your life.

What is a Jesse tree?

Isaiah wrote:

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,

And from his roots a bud shall blossom.

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:

A spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

A spirit of counsel and of strength,

A spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-2

A tradition that began in the Middle Ages, the Jesse tree reminds us that Jesus is the shoot that sprouted from the stump of Jesse, King David’s father.

How can I use these reflections?

I invite you to read the Bible verse and reflection question in the morning, so you can think about it throughout the day. Later in the day, maybe over your lunch hour or just before bed, you can read the full Bible passage and meditation. If you enjoy journaling, take time to write down your thoughts or compose a letter to God. If you express yourself through art, you can make your own Jesse tree ornament based on the Bible passage. To share this experience with your family, read the Bible story from a children’s Bible and have the kids color their own Jesse tree ornaments.

Click here to join me on this Advent journey!

As we frantically decorate our homes, purchase and wrap presents, cook and bake, it can be hard to find time and space to reflect and prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. I hope these reflections help you to take a moment each day to remember what the season of Advent is all about.

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