Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
We are all familiar with this passage from the 23d psalm, probably because we often hear it read during services for someone who has died. Why, then, do we read it today as we begin our preparations for the birth of the Lord? Isn’t Advent a happy time of expectation?
The answer, I think, is that the coming of Jesus is the watershed event in all of human history. By his incarnation, life, death and resurrection, the power of death is destroyed. Adam and Eve sin in the Garden, and the punishment for sin is death. The arrival of the sinless Lamb, who pays the penalty of death is the event that redeems the turning away from God begun in the Garden.
Glory, thanks and praise to our God!