Advent Reflection: All of the ChildrenDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
As we read this passage from Psalm 72, we stand within earshot of King David, who is praying intimately for his son, Solomon. David, in the twilight of his life, has fought the good fight and has won countless battles as “the man after God's own heart. He has also committed some heinous atrocities during his own years as king, to be sure, yet, at the end of his life, his thoughts are not on his own glory or fame (or, for that matter, his own shame). Instead, he has passed the baton of rule and reign to “the royal son,” Solomon, and here he is praying to God on his son's behalf.
David is asking God to impart specific aspects of God's character to Solomon: “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness and your people with justice.” David also asks that God's heart for justice and righteousness be evident in, and at work through, Solomon, on behalf of others. “In his days may the righteous flourish and peace abound,” David prays. David hopes that Solomon's rule and reign will mean good news for the poor and oppressed.
Indeed, David is praying for his son, but he is also pointing prophetically to the coming Messiah, in whom the fullness of God's character is perfectly embodied. Jesus is called “Immanuel,” which means “God With Us.” With Christ's coming, God's justice is with us, God's righteousness is with us, and God's peace is with us. As David describes the king he hopes Solomon will be during his years on earth, he is also describing the king Jesus Christ will be forever: a king whose rule and reign is rooted in justice, righteousness, and peace for all humankind.
My husband and I do not have children, but as I write these words, we are nearly finished with the process of becoming licensed as foster parents. It is very possible that we will have our first foster child placed with us during Advent this year, in fact, and as I pray for all aspects of this season in our lives, I am praying the words of King David for our foster child(ren): “May he (or she) fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!” My prayer for the child(ren) who will spend time living with us is that, above all, they will know, love, and honor God.
During this season of celebrating the coming of Christ, we celebrate the coming of the one who “defends the cause of the poor of the people” and “gives deliverance to the children of the needy.” Foster children are among the most marginalized, oppressed, and overlooked members of our society. An overwhelming majority of the children placed in foster care have been abused, traumatized, and/or neglected, physically and emotionally. The celebration of Advent is the celebration of a king whose rule and reign is explicitly focused on such as these.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Who are the children God has placed in your life? How can you pray for them in the same way David lifted up prayers for Solomon? How can you support and encourage young parents in your community, church, and place of work?
PRAYER: Dear God, let the children in my life be filled with your heart for justice, righteousness, and peace. I pray also for the oppressed among us, including those who are homeless, abused, neglected, and overlooked. Let me be faithful to “defend the cause of the poor” and “give deliverance to the children of the needy.” How can I participate in this work of deliverance on behalf of others, so the world can see that you alone do wondrous things? Amen.
P.S. from Mark: Christy Tennant Krispin is a writer, performing artist, worship leader, and arts advocate based in Seattle, where she lives with her husband and their two pets. To read more of Christy's reflections on scripture, visit Coffee Stains on my Bible.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.