Advent Devotion for December 30
Candle Lighter says: “Though our bodies are dying,”
Response: “…our spirits are being renewed every day.” (Amen to that!!)
SCRIPTURE: II Corinthians 4:16-18
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
SOME THOUGHTS: In the preceding verses, Paul is writing about the difficulties he has been dealing with in preaching the gospel. He’s been hunted, perplexed, troubled, and at times, in despair. He has faced eminent death on more than one occasion. But he continues on in his ministry so that God will receive more and more glory. Troubles apparently are instrumental in producing glory to God! What strikes me in the above discussion is that the very same thing could have been said about Jesus’ life as a baby in Mary and Joseph’s escape to Egypt. The same could be said in their return to Israel. Herod’s crazy son was ruling so they headed to Nazareth in the north, where it was a safer place to live and raise their son. On many occasions, the religious and political leaders sought to bring grief and trouble to the adult Jesus, yet He remained faithful, locked in to His Father’s wishes. He saw the eternal always. Paul lived with the same perspective, understanding the eternal nature of this life. I go back to it again, Jesus' arrival in the manger was God’s arrival from an eternal, unseen world. It was not simply the miraculous birth of a baby to be celebrated one day of the year. Jesus opened the door into eternity, to heaven, to an entirely different, unseen—for the moment—world. Though our bodies are living, they are also in the process of dying, our spirits, however, can be continually renewed by the Holy Spirit day-by-day. That part of us doesn’t age but it can mature. The source of that renewal comes from another eternal world. In the mix of the present and the timeless are “troubles!” As we view them from the “other world” perspective, we realize they won’t last long. From the eternal view, our life on this earth is a very short time. The earthly troubles we endure have the unusual attribute of being able to produce an eternal glory that far outlasts this time-bound life. Today, make an effort to fix your gaze on things that cannot be seen, they will last forever.
MUSIC: O Holy Night by Josh Groban (YouTube)
PRAYER: May Jesus Christ, the king of glory, help us to make the right use of all the myrrh that God sends, and to offer to him the true incense of our hearts; for his name’s sake. Amen.
—Johann Tauler, 1300-1361