(Wondering what this is? For more information, see the introduction.)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5
Jesus’ blessings here fall on all sorts of people–not only peacemakers and those who work for righteousness, but those who live with the burdens of not having peace–the poor, mourners, the persecuted. All of those he describes as blessed share, in some way, his own life, for Jesus is also poor, and meek, and persecuted, and he strives in his life and teaching for peace and righteousness. In naming our longing for peace, as well as those ways in which living without peace pain us, we are formed to become more and more like Jesus himself.
But your word, o God, is faithful;
your arm, o Lord, is strong;
you stand in the midst of nations,
and you will right the wrong.
You will feed your flock like a shepherd,
and fold the lambs to your breast,
in pastures of peace you’ll lead them,
and give to the weary rest.
This Advent devotional is intended to help you enter into the season of advent. We hope you enjoy it! Many thanks to the Rev. Paul Jennings for his help putting these reflections together.