Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, December 5

By Rev. Rick Isbell, Retired Minister of Discipleship

Never Normal Again

Read Isaiah 43:18-19

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

During the last 18 months I have heard the phrase “when things return to normal” many times. I do not know what “normal” means to a lot of people; but I’m pretty sure that all things will not return to what they were or what people define as “normal.” Our health care system has changed and more vaccinations will be a part of our lives. The wearing of our many masks will no longer seem strange. We have gotten used to certain sections of the grocery store shelves being empty and we have changed how we greet those we meet. There is more fist and elbow bumping than ever before. The “normal” things in our lives before March 2020 will never be the same.

But as we enter this Advent season, we must remember that the birth of the Christ child in Bethlehem also changed everything.  Mary and Joseph were no longer the ordinary, normal Jewish couple. The shepherds and wisemen who came to see Jesus were not the same after their visits. Some of Jesus’ disciples never returned to their normal jobs of fishing. Jesus was not the “Messiah” that was expected. The birth of Jesus, his life, his teachings, death and resurrection changed everything that was “normal.” You and I being “born of water and the spirit” are never just normal again. The coming of the Christ into the world turned the normal into something extraordinary. The world was changed. We live our lives in different ways and we prioritize different things. As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, let us remember that nothing should ever be normal again.


God, help me not to just live my life in normal ways. Help me this Advent season to expect and do the extraordinary. Help me to see Jesus in new ways and to serve Him by serving my neighbor. AMEN.

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