An Advent Journey - 4th December

An Advent Journey - 4th December

Read: 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Yesterday we were reading together the story of Ruth. Ruth is set during a period of Old Testament history ‘when the judges ruled’ (Ruth 1:1). The best word to sum up what life was like during this time is the word ‘chaos’. The book of Judges tells story after story of a world full of broken pieces. Everybody did their own thing, genocide and murder were common place and those with power often abused it terribly to further their own ends.

What do you look for? What kind of person do you hope for to put things right at such a time? 1 Samuel (the next Bible book after Ruth) begins in an unlikely place. It begins with the birth of a baby. The birth itself is miraculous and unexpected, Hannah (the child’s mother) was unable to have children, but miraculously a child was born. His name was Samuel. God fearing parents, a miracle birth, amidst chaotic times. Already this story echoes down through the pages of history, getting us ready for another birth on the distant horizon.

When Samuel was born Hannah prayed. Her words are recorded in today’s reading. There is life the way we see it. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, those with an advantage in life use it to go further, those who struggle get left further behind. It is what it is. But it is not the way God sees the world and it is not the way it will always be. Hannah’s prayer describes a world turned upside down; a humble woman is lifted up (v. 1), the proud and arrogant are held to account (v. 3), the satisfied are emptied and the hungry are fed (v. 5), a king comes and a new kingdom is established (v. 10).

We need to remember that Hannah enters the story at a hopeless moment. She enters the story as someone who is completely marginal, unnoticed, unheard, as she rejoices in the gift of a child. Just like Mary. But that’s another story. 

Prayer: Father help to me humble myself so that I may find my place in your story. Amen.