4th Friday of Advent

 Feasting

Revelation 19:1-9

After this I heard what sounded like a huge crowd in heaven. They said,

“Hallelujah! The salvation and glory and power of our God!
2 His judgments are true and just,
    because he judged the great prostitute,
        who ruined the earth by her whoring,
    and he exacted the penalty for the blood of his servants
        from her hand.”

3 Then they said a second time,
“Hallelujah! Smoke goes up from her forever and always.”

4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who is seated on the throne, and they said, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

5 Then a voice went out from the throne and said,
“Praise our God, all you his servants,
        and you who fear him, both small and great.”

6 And I heard something that sounded like a huge crowd, like rushing water and powerful thunder. They said,

“Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty,
        exercised his royal power!
7 Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give him the glory,
    for the wedding day of the Lamb has come,
        and his bride has made herself ready.
8 She was given fine, pure white linen to wear,
    for the fine linen is the saints’ acts of justice.”

9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Favored are those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.” He said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 1

Reflections

Feasting is an almost universal tradition at Christmas, not simply a gluttonous consuming of food, but true and honest feasting.  Celebrations across time and territory have involved rich foods and drink, sumptuous delicacies worthy of the king who was born.  Some of these feasts take place on Christmas Eve, others on Christmas Day, and others on Twelfth Night, but all are meant to be a taste of the royal banquet we can now expect after the birth of the true king. 

The New Testament is full of references to Jesus’ feast as he takes full reign over his kingdom, otherwise known as the marriage banquet of the Lamb.  The Christmas feast represents this banquet; it is a foretaste of the coming glory, an early glimpse of the riches which await creation.  The feast is worship celebrating and honestly reveling in the work God is doing in the world, and anticipating the culmination of God’s work in Christ’s return. 

Christmas feasts are full of symbolism.  In some cultures, twelve courses are eaten, in others specific foods are eaten, and in others specific people are invited such as the poor.  Think about Dickens’ Scrooge who encounters Christmas and provides the feast for his less fortunate employee Bob Cratchit.  Jesus’ birth and reign is so powerful that such a man as Scrooge provides a feast for others.  This is us; we are Scrooge, the person living in selfish denial of the world around us until Christmas points us toward the great reign of God.  What wonderful grace this is that God clears us from our selfish brain fog and gives us a reason to feast.

It is our duty to feast; we must lavishly celebrate Jesus’ coming.  A feast does not need to be expensive and it does not require overeating.  A feast requires celebration.  This Christmas FEAST!  Feast with those you love, feast with those who are low, feast with the poor, feast in God’s grace.  FEAST FOR JESUS IS BORN AND CHRIST IS RETURNING!

Almighty God, thank you for the grace to feast, thank you for the promise of the Lamb’s wedding feast, give me the grace to spread your feast with all those around me.  Amen.

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