Advent: Wednesday Dec 7

Matthew 12:33-37

“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

[The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]


It seems that Jesus is addressing the religious authorities with these stern words. If we back up a few verses, we see that the people around Jesus are excitedly responding to his healing of a person, and are wondering aloud, “Can this be the Messiah?” This is threatening to the religious authorities, and Jesus pushes deeper into their discomfort, suggesting that they are bad trees with rotten fruit, based on the harmful language they use to try to retain their power and privilege.

Why would these stern words be included in this Advent movement?



  1. Maybe the message here is that words matter. Not only what we say, but how we say it. Are we framing our advent message so that it includes or excludes? Do we acknowledge that to be Christ-like is to stand up for the most vulnerable in ways that may be uncomfortable for us? Do we say that we are bearing good fruit when we are not?

    “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Maybe these words are included in the advent movement to remind us to prepare our hearts so that our words bring life to those around us.

  2. In the Genesis creation story right from the get go words matter. We hear repeatedly “…and God said …” and then life affirming things happen. And human beings are eventually brought forth to be in and to reflect the image of God. And it turns out that language is central to what it means to be human. It matters so much. And like other gifts we have been given, it can be used in ways that are life affirming and giving or misused in ways that make us less than fully human.
    In this last election season as in all seasons, words have made a huge differemce. In this Advent season I pray that our words will lead to actions that reflect what it means to be created in the image of God.

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