To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.
The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.
His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.
The psalm invites us simply to turn again to the God who is good, faithful and loving. It reassures us of his help and friendship.
In our turning to him we do what is right. We might be turning from what is bad and wrong, but in turning we do what is good and best.
A number of religions see the world as a place of struggle between good and evil, and it is not clear which will win out. Will it be light or dark, good or evil?
They do not know God as God the Creator, but only gods in the world, some good, some bad.
For Christianity there is, as we say in the Creed, one God. All others are creatures. That God (Father, Son and Spirit) made all that is, and made it good.
We have free choice and through that evil and sin enter into the world. They are realities and they spoil and soil what was made good.
But the point is the world was made good, and it remains so, for all that evil and sin still make their mark. And in Jesus Christ the final victory over death and evil has already been won and is, even now, being shared with us in word and Sacrament and grace. Light has conquered, darkness is banished.
Yet in this month of Advent, when the world illuminates itself with Xmas lights, the Church urges us wait almost in the shadows, preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. We need not be miserable, but for us the joy of Christmas is something much more than the commercial Xmas here-today and gone-tomorrow. For us Christmas is about the good life, and not just a good time.
- Use Advent to wait for the Lord, to invite him to come close, to know our need of the gifts he brings.
- Pray for those who suffer the consequences of evil and sin: the victims.
- Pray for God’s will to be done, and for all human beings to flourish.
Picture of The Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans is in the collection of the National Gallery, London.