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The Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61.1–4, 8–11
1 Thessalonians 5.16–24
John 1.6–8, 19–28

Restrain the impulse towards Isaiah’s rolling cadences and John’s pregnant simplicity, and ponder what Paul has packed into such a small space. Apart from verse 23 (a benediction for those awaiting the Lord’s presence), the rest of this nine verse passage is very clipped. No argument; no discourse; only one explanatory phrase; eight commands; a concluding promise. Forty-one words in the Greek, just over five per verse. Blessed is the one who ponders each, and the way in which they bring the Advent hope into present reality.

First, celebration. ‘Rejoice always’; easy to caricature, but easy too to miss the point. Present celebration is rooted in what has already been achieved in Christ, and what is thereby guaranteed...

Taken from Twelve Months of Sundays Year B by N T Wright

Published by SPCK


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