Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, December 3

By Rev. Catherine Nance

Magic Word

Read: Isaiah 64:1

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence! 

My mind goes back to early 70’s Saturday morning TV. For us pre-teens and early teens, there was a ‘real people show,’ – not a cartoon. Billy Batson was the main character, a teenager, who was granted powers from the ‘immortals.’ Whenever there was a crisis at hand or some wrong that needed to be set right, Billy would hop out of the RV that was being driven by his mentor, run to an open space, look up to the heavens, close his eyes, and yell, SHAZAM!

Claps of thunder! Lightning flash! SHAZAM! Billy was transformed into Captain Marvel! And all was right with the world. Well, at least in the community where Billy was.

It is hard to put away childhood fantasies, especially this time of year. We want flashy miracles and quick resolutions to problems. I imagine the prophet, Isaiah, looking up to the heavens with arms outstretched, fists clenched perhaps, and yelling, “Just come down here!! TEAR OPEN THE HEAVENS!”  

Isaiah accuses God of hiding from the people because of how we have sinned; God must be angry with us and is staying away. On this first day of Advent, I trust in a God who is not hiding. I trust in a God who has already forgiven and redeemed us. I trust in a God who desires to be with us. 

God did in fact tear open the heavens, but there was no lightning! Only moonlight. No sounds of thunder. Only a baby’s cry and the lowing of animals. I look forward to our Advent journey together as we stay alert and watch for how God is already at work. The word of power is Immanuel. God with us!


O God who continues to reveal yourself to us, open our eyes that we might see you ways that the world does not expect. Thank you, for always seeking us. May we be ready! In Jesus’s name, Amen!

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