Theme: Hurry Up and Wait

Written by Doug Hoagland, Community United Church of Christ

Psalm 122

Mary and Joseph were pilgrims — first to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus and later to Egypt to save the Christ child from Herod. Advent invites us to be pilgrims on a journey to Christmas — not the Christmas of the shopping malls, but of the humble beginning of a life 2,000 years ago in a stable.

Psalm 122 focuses our attention on another pilgrim — one who came to Jerusalem many years before the birth of Jesus. The occasion was a religious festival where the pilgrim probably sang this psalm. It conveys the pilgrim’s joy for the city and is a prayer for the city’s welfare.

As we enter into Advent as pilgrims, we can express joy for Fresno. It is a destination for people throughout the world who come seeking safety and a better future for their children. In that way, they are like Mary and Joseph.

We can pray that our city’s gifts to them are welcoming neighbors, leaders who value diversity, and a community that remembers that most people carry with them an immigrant’s story.

Let us pray that the words of Psalm 122 would be true in our city.

“May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” Please, God, let it be so.