Advent 1 · Jeremiah 33:14-16 · November 29, 2009

By Joel D. Biermann

Thoughts from the text

So, it begins again: another church year, another Advent, another Christmas shopping season, another winter … another time of waiting. Waiting through the dark days of early winter seems an ideal time to turn to the prophet Jeremiah for relevant words. The man knew something about waiting. Even the rare, hopeful moments of his written prophecy—like our brief text—exude an aura of waiting. The good days are yet to come. The promise is unfulfilled. Jeremiah can only cling to the promise and wait and hope and wait … but at least he has the promise. The parallels with our reality seem striking. We have a promise—Christ will return and restore all things. Nevertheless, our present is often less than pleasant. We may not taste the depth of sorrow and suffering endured by our ancient brother in the ministry, Jeremiah, but we know what it is to wait tirelessly for a promise given long ago. Like so many days before, today is just another “one of those days,” the kind that Jeremiah knew so intimately.

We can relate to Jeremiah. But perhaps we shouldn’t, or at least perhaps we shouldn’t relate quite so easily or readily. We are, after all, living now in the days that Jeremiah longed to see—the days that were the object of his hope. Jeremiah longed for the days when God’s Plan (the master Plan of salvation) would move forward, the promise would be kept, and Judah would be saved. All of that has happened. The “righteous Branch of David” sprang forth and he executed (NASB’s word choice) justice and righteousness on the earth. Following a plan that few could have imagined, the fulfillment came precisely when the world rejected and executed the one who had come to do justice and righteousness. It has been accomplished. The Plan is a done deal. “Those days”—the very thought of which so inspired and encouraged Jeremiah—are now. Today is one of those days … not a day of weary waiting, or dreary routine, or painful endurance, but a day of living in the reality of the promise fulfilled. We are not waiting for God to do something. He’s already done it. In fact, he’s still doing it; it is “one of those days.”

It is, today, one of those days of God’s intervening active grace. So, while we know what it is to wait through Advent and winter and life, we must also learn the habits and practices of living in the reality of the promise accomplished. If we are only waiting for what’s next, only waiting for God to do something else, only waiting for those better days, then we are failing to live faithfully and joyfully in the present reality of now—a reality that would have delighted (and perhaps even brought a smile to the hardened face of) the weeping prophet.

Suggested outline

“It’s One of Those Days”

I. Days of futility.

A. Jeremiah knew how hard life could be, but he also knew the promise of God.

1. For Jeremiah, every day was “one of those days.”
2. He yearned to see God send the “righteous Branch.”

B. Advent brings hope and anticipation, but does not erase the grim realities of life.

1. We continue to endure all of the challenges and pain of these days.
2. Regardless the “date,” it is just another “one of those days.”
3. Like Jeremiah, we endure and we wait.

II. Days of fulfillment.

A. Jesus, the “righteous Branch,” has come.

1. As promised, he executed justice and righteousness on the earth.
2. The world executed him, and God fulfilled his Plan.

B. Jesus, who is our righteousness, still comes.

1. He comes today in Word and Sacrament.
2. We live now in the reality of the promise fulfilled.
3. Today is “one of those days” that Jeremiah yearned to see.

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