Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Second Sunday of Advent

This is a few days late, but here's a devotional for this past Sunday.

Sunday, December 7: Second Sunday of Advent
 Here is the LORD God, coming with strength, with a triumphant arm, bringing his reward with him and his payment before him.
 Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock; he will gather lambs in his arms and lift them onto his lap. He will gently guide the nursing ewes.
~Isaiah 40:10-11

Read Isaiah 40:1-11
Last Sunday, we read of Isaiah’s longing for God to show up in mighty ways. In today’s passage, he imagines that God has already done this. He sees God changing the very face of the earth—leveling mountains and lifting valleys—and  he describes how God will care for God’s people. Isaiah’s visions do not always seem very kind to Israel, when the people are not following in God’s ways and their hardships seem inevitable, but here, we know Isaiah is attuned to the love of the God whose mercy endures forever. Here, there is promise for a people who are like wayward sheep—promise, not because of their own striving, but because of the God who created and loves them.

As Advent continues and Christmas approaches, we may be beginning to feel like wayward lambs, like sheep who need to be guided in gentle and forgiving and restful ways. Whatever busyness may find you today, know that God is preparing, and always has been, for your rest and redemption, not through your own striving, but through God’s great love. Take comfort in  that, whether this time of year is bringing you hurry and stress or loneliness and pain. Christ will come again, and we will be made whole, whether on that great day of Christ’s return, or before then.

Seek the God who tends the flock this season, not all the gods of glamour and glitter and shiny gifts. After all, God is ever seeking you. Now may just be the perfect time to let yourself be found by such a strong and caring shepherd!

Prayer: God our Shepherd, guide us into right paths this Advent. Prepare the way in us for your return, through the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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