Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, December 12
By Tim Best, Senior Associate Pastor
Read: Isaiah 54:4-10 (NRSV)
“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
Every year before vacation I have as my highest goal to clean and organize the house from top to bottom. I promise myself that THIS year I will actually get it done. The idea is that anyone who has to come in and feed the dogs or the fish will see a tidy house. It never seems to happen as I hope. Each year I still try. And each year I learn something about what matters, what doesn’t, and how to slowly make progress the rest of the time.
Advent is a season of preparation, too. When I read passages like this one from Isaiah I am reminded the preparation of Advent is far more vital than making sure the dust bunnies are swept out from behind the couch. Advent is about preparing our hearts for the promises of the incarnation. There is a very real sense in which we cannot ever be prepared for Jesus. Advent and Christmas serve as annual reminders that Jesus comes to us in whatever condition our lives or our souls may be in. Isaiah reveals that the heart of God is not vengeance, but compassion. Isaiah names God as our redeemer. I pray this will be a season where we might discover the redemptive work of God going on in our lives. May you find joy, no matter the condition of your house or lives, in the discovery that God is with us.
Almighty God, may your spirit clean out the cobwebs of our hearts and open us to renewed joy in Christ. Amen.