Advent is a time set aside for anticipating the coming of Christ, both at the first Christmas and again in the present and future. This season's passages reflect this anticipation from the perspective of the Old Testament, and its fulfillment and future anticipation from the New Testament. We'll look at why Jesus came: to show us who God is and what he's like.
Read Romans 15:4-13
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
"Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name."
Again, it says,
"Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people."
"Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him."
And again, Isaiah says,
"The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope."
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament, the people of God were primarily the Jews, with a few others who sought God through his covenant with the Jews. But with the long-awaited but unexpected coming of Christ, who was himself a Jew, God broke out of this box and saved both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike. How does this expansion of God's covenant specifically display God's mercy, as this passage says?
Pray along with Paul today, not only for yourself, but for the universal church, made up of all the peoples, all the nations: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.