Advent Devotional: Sunday, December 21: O Key of David

Perhaps one of the oddest-named O Antiphons, unless you know a bit of history, calling the Messiah “O Key of David” will sound strange.

In some chapels around the world tonight the priest will chant,

O Key of David, O royal power of Israel,
Controlling at your will the gate of heaven;
Come, break down the prison walls of death
For those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
And lead your captive people into freedom.

The fact that the Messiah was to be born of King David’s family line should also strike you as strange. David is remembered fondly in the history books of Israel, but he has a noticeable scar upon his record, a scar that many feel he never recovered from: that scandal with the sunbathing woman.

People mention Bathsheba as if she’s a temptress of some sort, but truthfully David is to blame for that scandal. He had the power, he had the opportunity.

It was his scandal to have or prevent.

The thing is, we all have something that we live with. We all have our own scandals of some sort. And I think it is no mistake that God chose an imperfect, very human, line of people from which to call the Messiah.

If it were otherwise, we’d all be in trouble.

Because if Jesus can come from imperfect stock, then there’s still hope for us, too. Hope that we too can be God’s agents in the world, bearing Christ. Hope that our pasts can be redeemed in God’s future of love.

Jesus was hidden in David’s family, and is even still now being revealed…in you.


Questions for reflection: What parts of your past do you need to give up? What parts of your future do you need to visualize as being whole in God’s good grace? In what ways can you give up your assumptions about others because of their past?

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