Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, December 4
By Laura Still
Carrying the Light in Hard Times
Read Isaiah 2:3b-5
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
This year more than any other it has been hard to feel connected as God’s people. We have been kept apart for our own health and safety, but knowing that doesn’t make it less lonely. Our church staff and clergy have done everything possible to reach out to us, and I applaud their dedication to finding new ways to send prayers, teach classes, and find alternate ways to worship and feel we are still a community of faith. But this has gone on much longer than we expected, and there is still no endpoint in sight. In fact, getting back to normal probably isn’t going to happen. We must accept that normal is going be different than it used to be.
So now what?
To answer this, I read back over the book of Isaiah, and reflected on what the prophet had to say. He was giving counsel to the people of Israel in a time not unlike our own. They had been scattered and were having hard times as they tried to come back together and rebuild their identity as God’s people. It would have been easy to be a prophet of doom and gloom in those times, but Isaiah’s job was not to spread despair. Instead, God asked him to be a beacon – a point of light in the darkness. Over and over, God uses Isaiah to reassure his people that, though their circumstances are grim, He is with them and has a plan for their future. It may not be the future they imagined, but God’s imagination would always exceed anything humans could come up with.
So in times of darkness, God wants us to walk in His light, to hold up that light to the world, and trust Him to bring us safely into His kingdom. We can still be God’s people, looking with hope to the future He is creating for us.
Dear Lord, give us patience and help us be kind to each other, even though we are uncertain and afraid. Help us to focus on every small good thing, and use those points of light to strengthen our hope and trust in You. Make us sincerely grateful for your gifts to us, in the name of your greatest gift, Jesus Christ. Amen.
This devotion was written by Laura Still on behalf of the Children’s Ministries.