Today we celebrate the Second Sunday in Advent as well as the commemoration of John of Damascus, Theologian and Hymnwriter. Our devotional reading for this Second Sunday in Advent comes from A Year with the Church Fathers.
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
In the devotional reading for today, St. Ambrose contemplates the Old Testament Reading from Isaiah 11. Herein, he reflects upon the sweetness of Christ, the fruit of Mary’s womb, the flower that sprung from the root of Jesse.
Christ is the fruit of the womb of Mary and the flower of Jesse who came from the overshadowing of the Most High God. The fragrance of flowers is a powerful and pleasing thing. The flower of Jesse filled the whole world with the fragrance of forgiveness. That fragrance was all the more powerful when that flower of life was bruised and pinioned to the cross. He exhaled nothing but the fragrance of forgiveness when He breathed His last. When we breathe
His fragrant breath, we breathe the breath of life.
“The Lord Himself, whom the angels serve, was begotten by the Holy Spirit
coming upon the Virgin, as, according to Matthew, the angel said to Joseph. ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 1:20). And according to Luke, he said to Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ (Luke 1:35).
“The birth from the Virgin was, then, the work of the Spirit. The fruit of the womb is the work of the Spirit, according to that which is written: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb’ (Luke 1:42)! The flower from the root is the work of the Spirit; that flower, I say, of which it was well prophesied: ‘There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit’ (Isaiah 11:1). The root of Jesse the patriarch is the family of the Jews. Mary is the rod. The flower of Mary is Christ, who, about to spread the good fragrance of faith throughout the whole world, budded forth from a virgin womb, as He Himself said, ‘I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys’ (Song of Solomon 2:1).
“The flower, when cut, keeps its fragrance, and when bruised, increases it, and if torn off, it does not lose it. So the Lord Jesus too, on the gallows of the cross, neither failed when bruised, nor fainted when torn; and when He was cut by that piercing spear, He became more beautiful by the color of the outpoured blood. He, as it were, grew attractive again, not able in Himself to die, and breathing forth upon the dead the gift of eternal life. On this flower of the royal rod the Holy Spirit rested (Isaiah 11:2).”
Devotional reading is from A Year with the Church Fathers, pages 379–80
© 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Prayer for the Day
O Lord, through Your servant John of Damascus, You proclaimed with power the mysteries of the true faith. Confirm our faith so that we may confess Jesus to be true God and true man, singing the praises of the risen Lord, and so that by the power of the resurrection we may also attain the joys of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer is from Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 981 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.