12.05.21 | Hope | by Pastor Joshua Hagstrom
The Word is Near You
Deuteronomy 30:14 “The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you
Advent is the most recently developed season of the church year. Today Advent, which literally
means “coming” or “arrival”, is celebrated the four Sundays before Christmas. The history of
how we arrived here is pretty cool. Theologian Ruth Duck names “It may have grown out of
early lectionaries that end with readings about the second coming of Christ and begin with
Christmas or Epiphany. In 380 CE a council in Spain asked people to worship continually from
December 17 to January 6. In 465, the Synod of Tours expected monks to fast from December 1
to 25; in 581, this was extended to the laity for three days a week. By the sixth century, Rome had a
During the season of Advent, we express our hope and longing that God’s full will may be done
on earth. We admit the limits of the present world and our own lives as they are; we embrace new
ways of living to welcome Christ’s reign. We look forward not only to the birth of Jesus but also
to his life, death, and resurrection.
Today, it can be hard to focus on what God has done, is doing, and will do during Advent. It can
be easy for us to want to skip ahead to Christmas. The four candles of the Advent wreath
compete with the Christmas decorations we see all around us.
If you find it difficult to focus on God this season, to express our hope and longing, take heart,
Church. Read again these words in Deuteronomy “the word is very near to you; it is in your
mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” Moses is speaking to the people in the wilderness.
At the time, they felt like it was almost impossible to focus on God. However, Moses is full of
optimism. God’s people can live faithfully because the word of God is near. God’s people have
access to the message of God.” They could live a life of faithfulness because God’s word was
This Advent season, as we anticipate the coming of Christ, know that the Word is near year to
you. We remember as the author of the Gospel of John proclaims, “1, In the beginning, was the
Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…14 And the Word became flesh and
lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and
May we live into this Advent season by preparing our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Word
made Flesh, Emmanuel, God with us. May we pray together, worship together, and spend time in
scripture together, so that we, like the wilderness people, proclaim the Word is near, on our lips
and in our hearts. O come, O come, Emmanuel.
Grace and peace,