Advent Devotions: Blessings just for us?

December 2, 2015
Advent 2015. Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World.

Editor’s note: This Advent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).       

By Rev. Ruth T. West

Luke 4:14-30

Sometimes our vision is too narrow.

We put restrictions on everything to assure that our portion is secure and available, whether we need it or not. Not having something we perceive as essential becomes the basis for justification of the "-isms" that are really extensions of our worst sense of identity and entitlement.

We want to be like Jesus and unroll that scroll and make that proclamation on God's behalf. Yet when it comes to resources (sanctuary, economic hospitality, security) we acknowledge, even embrace, our humanness, i.e., we engage the facts that we are flawed and limited and therefore can't share as we should. Consequently, our imperfections speak loudly for us...

This land is just for us. Ideals for personhood and morality should be designed by us. The harvest of Creation should be controlled by us. And pretty soon we can't help but infer that Justice now means "Just Us" and therefore salvation can be assigned by us.

In today's text, I hear Jesus telling the people whom he is physically with (God with us) that God is also present with our neighbor. I sense an invitation to consider that God's abundance necessarily means that there is room for someone else, other than us, to also be blessed by God. Our willingness to accept the breadth of God's abundance means that we can dispel our notions of scarcity that keep our fists clenched.

The Healing Hope for this Advent season is in the abundance of God's love, not just for one, but for all. This love is manifested in the birth of Jesus. This abundance includes the possibilities for reconciliation (one to an-other) and for the reconciliation of humanity back to God's self; for peace and for peaceful ways; for freedom and for being set free.

Rev. Ruth T. West is the San Francisco Theological Seminary program manager for programs in Christian Spirituality and clinical pastoral education.

The Healing Hope for this Advent season is in the abundance of God's love, not just for one, but for all.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • Racially Equitable Responses to Hunger During COVID-19 and Beyond

    By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as when a person or household does not have regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health. Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) have historically had higher...

  • Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Better Nutrition Protects Lives

    With the coronavirus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people is more important than ever.

For Faith

  • Finding Hope, Ending Hunger on Both Sides of the Border: A Bilingual Latino Devotional

    Devotional writers challenge us to feel the Spirit of God within us and to hear God’s urgent call to demand justice so all can put food on the table.
  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

For Advocacy


African at Heart

November 22, 2019


From the Blog