My devotional commentary for Advent led me to a Christmas song sung by Joan Baez. Looking it up on You Tube, I, of course, started listening to all of the old songs I love. Baez singing, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” Peter, Paul and Mary and their “500 Miles” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” Simon and Garfunkel singing “The Sound of Silence.” But there is a certain kind of melancholy, a looking back at the sadness of the past, the goodbyes, the brokenness—it is after all part of what makes many folk songs beautiful. But for Advent we look back and forward, with joy.
We look back to the birth of our Savior, the Incarnation, the One who is both fully human and fully God. And just as the Hebrews experience their history as now—they speak of the Exodus as through they were present—God delivered us. They are the community delivered. So, in our salvation, our deliverance, in our union with Christ we also look forward to the coming of his birth, the coming of his life, the coming of his suffering and death, the power of his resurrection. We live through it by way of Scripture and the Holy Spirit who unites us to the Lord. And finally and ultimately we look forward to his return—the second coming of our Lord.
We will (and do) skip like calves in our joy.
“For behold the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:1-2)