Advent Devotion for December 29
Candle Lighter says: “How I wish today that you of all people…”
Response: “…would understand the way to peace.”
SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:41-44
41 But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”
SOME THOUGHTS: With Christmas celebrations a few days in the past, most people are still in that wonderful holiday mood with New Year’s Eve just around the corner and all the parties and football bowl games underway, we’ve moved on from Advent and Christmas. It’s over for another year. Time to take down the lights and tree and put things back into storage. If that was all there was to Christmas, how very, very sad. Perchance our world has missed yet again an opportunity to grasp the reality of the Nativity and Christmastide. What I have described is in truth, the world of many of the people all around us. Christmas is a holiday, a time for parties and a little break from the routine of work. Perhaps it’s a chance to get out of town for a few days or get together with family. In the passage you just read, Jesus was in the midst of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and He wept over Jerusalem. Why? The Jewish people had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. There is a moment of final rejection and that moment had arrived. Jesus will go to the cross. The nation has issued its verdict on the Son of God. Rejection. With great sadness, Jesus foretells the utter and complete destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans. Perhaps you are thinking, “What a downer and what does this have to do with Christmas?” People then did not recognize Jesus for who He was in His day. They presumed to know what God the Messiah should be like and how He should act. Jesus did not fit that mold, hence He could not be the Messiah. I fear today in a post-Christian culture, things are worse in a sense. This business of Jesus being God, Savior, and Redeemer isn’t even on people’s radar. For much of our culture, Christ is a minimal part of Christmas, if at all. Pray for our world. Pray for the people around you. May you be a light in a dark world this day. Look for places to shine the light of God’s love. How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way of peace with God.
MUSIC: Angels from the Realms of Glory by Sissel and Mormon Tabernacle Choir (YouTube)
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior of this world, we pray for the reconciliation of all those people who have no knowledge or interest in reconciliation with you. You love them as much as you love me, for you so loved the world that you gave yourself to redeem us. Break the hard hearts; woo the sinner; heal the broken; bring health to the diseased soul; restore the wanderer. Father, bring back to the fold those who have drifted from the truth chasing empty vapors of their own making. In their longing to find themselves, may they find you and thus themselves as you designed them to be. And good Lord, may we not only weep for the lost and floundering but for the proud and sure-footed, helping them realize they are on shifting sand, not the Solid Rock. Holy Spirit, continue pouring your life into our trusting soul. We pray this in the name of the babe of Bethlehem, even Jesus, our Lord. Amen.