Friday, December 20, 2013

Advent XX

I was chasing an angel when I found it.  Anyone who reads the Christmas narrative in Luke's gospel runs into Gabriel.  In the first chapter the angel identifies himself by saying, "I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news."  Of course, he was speaking to Zechariah, telling him that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear them a son whose name would be John.  This is the same angel who later appears to Mary announcing to her that she will give birth to Jesus.  And while the Word does not tell us the name of the angel who appears to Joseph in his dream, or the name of the angel who shows up in the field with the shepherds, I have always figured that since he had been seen in the vicinity for sure on a couple of occasions, Gabriel must be the unnamed angel of these stories as well. 

As I chased this angel around the Christmas story, I wondered where else he might have shown up in the scripture.  I chased him back to Old Testament times where he breaks in upon the prayer of Daniel.  It was there that I found it.  I went back and read the prayer being prayed by Daniel just before Gabriel showed up.  The prayer begins back in the first few verses of the 9th chapter, but the part of it which got my attention came in verses 18 and 19.  It is worth reading slowly.  "We do not present our supplication before You on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of Your great mercies.  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay!  For Your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people bear Your name!"  It is also worth praying.

What I found there in the book of Daniel was a wonderful...a powerful...Advent prayer.  Already I have put it to memory so that I can carry it with me through these remaining days of Advent.  I am grateful my angel chase brought me to this prayer prayed long ago by Daniel.  It is obvious God heard the prayer and responded to it which is still what God desires to do with our prayers today.

No comments: