WEEK FOUR: VISITATION AND PROCLAMATION

DECEMBER 18-25

Luke 1:57-80 
The Birth of John the Baptist 

Visitation and Proclamation by Kyle Rodriguez

Sometimes, we get so eager to receive the promises that have been made to us that we feel as if we are owed them. Perhaps Christmas, in all its tradition of giving and receiving gifts, is uniquely equipped to exemplify that pattern.
 
One of the consistent themes in may of our family gift exchanges is anxiety over whether we have matched the right level of generosity toward one another—it would simply not do if one party “out-gave” the other! We expect gifts and we are expected to give back in return. If we do not give a gift, we feel shortchanged, and if we give the wrong level of gift, we feel guilty. Because Christmas brings with it an implicit promise of mutual gift-giving, any interruption in that expected exchange will feel wrong, unjust.

But in Luke 1, the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth is a reminder that all of the gifts of God are mercies toward his people. We do not deserve them, our Creator does not owe us anything. Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives come and rejoice with her because God “had shown great mercy to her” (1:58), not because God had finally kept his side of the bargain to provide a son. And Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, offers up a worshipful song of prophecy, one which gives voice to the great mercy of God in providing a Savior, a horn of salvation that John would go before in preparation.
 
One of the fascinating phrases in Zechariah’s prophecy is that God was doing all of this “to show the mercy promised to our fathers” (1:72).  Just because God had promised this salvation doesn’t make it any less of a mercy, his promise doesn’t make it something that we are owed. His mercy isn’t meant to give way to arrogance or presumptuousness in us.
But it is meant to give way to courage and boldness, as his merciful salvation brings light to the darkness, victory over evil, that we “might serve him without fear” (1:74).
ARTWORK:
Kara Miller
The Fullness of Time - Advent, 2022

My ideas for this artwork started with re-reading the Galatians and Ephesians
verses about the fullness of time. I quickly thought of a clock or pocket watch. I had recently been looking up names of God during my bible studies, and so I thought of the idea to include in this piece the names of Jesus from the Bible. This seemed fitting to honor his birth during this season.

I used the main themes of the Bible story – creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

For the CREATION element, I thought Alpha & Omega, Living Water, and Bread of Life seemed fitting for our creation and sustenance, so placed those names there. With the FALL, Adam and Eve plummeted humanity into the “chains” of the pocket watch. I like that the nativity scene just naturally ended up as a near center point, with words of Immanuel and Prince of Peace placed nearby. Jesus comes later as our “Deliverer” and the “The Vine” visually breaking our chains, and all the following images for REDEMPTION. The watch is on the fritz though and is about to bust apart, so at the top, we currently worship, but also await the glorious RESTORATION from the Light of the World, our King of Kings.

That concludes our 2022 Advent Project.

We hope you will join us on Sunday, December 25th at 10 AM as we gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus! All Advent Project artworks will be displayed for in-person viewing.