Advent Devotion for January 5
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says:
“The next day there was a wedding.”
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:18-25
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
SCRIPTURE: John 2:1-12
2 The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, 8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.
9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
12 After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.
SOME THOUGHTS: Another of the themes associated with the time of Epiphany is Jesus’ turning water to wine at a wedding feast. Have you ever wondered why he chose that venue for his first public miracle? Nowhere does Jesus tell us why he chose that setting but there are some interesting things to notice. God the Father gave away the first bride, Eve, to the first groom, Adam. God established that a marriage is between a man and a woman, but there is so much more significance. The marriage ceremony is established before the community, witnesses, and makes the couple accountable. But marriage has additional significance and I think Jesus is pointing to a bigger picture. Throughout Scripture, marriage is a metaphor for the relationship of God with his covenant people, Israel, in the Old Testament and then with the Church in the New Testament. At the beginning, we are given an earthly model of a heavenly relationship yet to come between the Bride of Christ, the Church, and the Groom, even the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. It seems fitting that Jesus would begin his earthly public ministry by affirming the marriage of a man and a woman, a shadowing of the coming wedding of himself to his Bride, the Church. He chose that setting among the local community to do his first public miracle. His mother tells him they have run out of wine and part of his response is “My time has not yet come.” To our ears, that seems like a rather odd response. But I think something deeper is going on with the fact that it is wine. Jesus talks about his blood being poured out as the new covenant with his people (Luke 22:20). He is saying it is not yet my time. John also tells us that it was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, the event Jesus embraced at the end of his earthly ministry. In this account of changing the water to wine, he is telling his mother it’s not the time for his ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. It is also not yet time to celebrate the ultimate wedding of the Bride, the Church, and the Groom, the Lamb of God. As the angel said to John in the Revelation (19:9), “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The time will come and we’ll be there and we will not run out of the best wine you’ve ever tasted!
MUSIC: “Worthy Is the Lamb” from Messiah
Atlanta Symphony and Chamber Chorus, Robert Shaw (YouTube)
PRAYER: Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow on me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you, at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— adapted from Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD)