Advent Reflections 2023: Day 19

Psalm 119:97-104

Isn’t it lovely when we can feel superior to those around us? Even more so, when we are measuring ourselves against them from our chosen standpoint. We might want to dismiss the psalmist as an arrogant snob, but that would be a great mistake. Rather, this is an indication of how our values should change when we are part of the family of God.

Meditation on the Law of God – not simple legalisms but the whole ‘Sacred History’ of the Torah, the first five books of the scriptures – becomes the heart of the psalmist’s life. They do not need to strive after wisdom, understanding or long years of experience, because all that they could ever need of these are always there with them, in the commandments, decrees and precepts of the Law.

God is the psalmist’s wisdom, understanding and experience. Worldly values are without any value by comparison. The psalmist wants to avoid evil and turning aside from God not simply because they class that as being wrong, but because it would be an offence against God’s love and care. The sweetness of the scriptures has become overwhelming, such that they overwhelm those temptations.

Sometimes we hesitate to use the word ‘hate’, but the psalmist doesn’t. Their hatred is for any path leading away from the truth of God. As we journey through Advent there are many paths to take us astray. Brightly painted candy-caned Disney-esque depictions. The demure ivory-skinned mother and child standing out from the brown skinned sinners around them. Golden haired choristers hanging in mid-air. The true way is the Light who is coming into the world. The only wisdom, understanding and experience we will ever need.

Jenny Jones

O Lord, as we walk the path to the stable be our guide and our guard. Keep our thoughts and vision on you, and you alone. May the false ways hold no promise for us, but the truth of Christ always call us forward.