Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Calendar - December 3

Isaiah 11: 1-10

Reflection by Sister Briana Elisabeth Craddock
Ferdinand, Indiana

“Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.”

As human beings, we rely on our five senses to gather information about the world around us. The images that we see and the sounds that we hear make particular impressions on us. From the experiences that we have related to the sights and sounds, we make judgments. We may exclaim over the beauty of a sunset over the ocean or smile when we hear certain Christmas carols. Someone may hear or see the same thing that we see or hear but evaluate it differently based on associations to past experiences. The sunset over the ocean might be seen as a harbinger of darkness and fear. A person might feel grumpy when he or she hears Christmas carols because loved ones have died and there is a feeling of loss associated with Christmas.
It is very difficult, at times, to separate our judgments about people or events because we have seen or heard something that sways us to believe one way or another. Isaiah tells us that the Messiah will not judge based upon appearances or on hearsay. The Messiah will judge with justice rather than unethical means.
What would happen if we chose to live today without judging others through appearances or hearsay? Perhaps instead of passing along gossip we could let the harsh words stop with us. Perhaps we could receive all as Christ, even those whose ideas or appearances differ from our own.
Questions for Reflection:
How easy is it for me to pass along gossip?
How do I react when someone else does not see eye-to-eye with me?

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