Advent Devotion for December 14
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:1-5; 42:1-4
40 “Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your God.
2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone
and her sins are pardoned.
Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over
for all her sins.”
3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness
for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
for our God!
4 Fill in the valleys,
and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
and smooth out the rough places.
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken!”
42 “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout
or raise his voice in public.
3 He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
4 He will not falter or lose heart
until justice prevails throughout the earth.
Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 11:28-30
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
SOME THOUGHTS: Do you remember the first time you met your spouse’s parents? (I remember the first time I talked with my mother-in-law on the phone! I called Nancy to ask her to go to dinner while we were still in college. She said she couldn’t because her mother was visiting. Not sure if she was putting me off, I said, “OK, put her on the phone.” Nancy did (!) and I had my first conversation with my future mother-in-law!) Or maybe it was the initial meeting with your new boss or someone on a blind date? It might even be that very famous person whom you chanced to meet… After waiting nine months, every parent wonders what their new baby will be like! We spend hours pondering this question, “I wonder what they will be like?” God seems to understand us very well because he gave us all kinds of clues in the Old Testament as to the person and character of the coming Messiah. We are told in the Isaiah passages above, that our Savior is tender, and gentle, and that he cares for our welfare. Notice in the various encounters people had with Jesus how very tuned to their hearts he was. He had great compassion for all those who were transparent. Jesus is always deeply concerned with the welfare of his children. In his phrase, “my yoke is easy and my burden in light,” we get additional insight into the character of our Savior. In Jesus’ day, it was a practice for a rabbi to have a dozen or so followers, (talmidim). They left home and traveled everywhere with the rabbi, seeking to learn as much as possible, but the main point was to become like him in every sense. The phrase describing this life was taking “the yoke of the rabbi.” In this context, in contrast to the heavy, legalistic burden the scribes and Pharisees put on the people, Jesus said, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” In Matthew, we see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words concerning the gentleness of our Savior. In the swirl of this day, you are surrounded by people who have never met him. You may have a chance today to introduce them. Watch for it.
MUSIC: “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” (YouTube)
We beseech thee, Master, to be our helper and protector.
Save the afflicted among us; have mercy on the lowly;
raise up the fallen; appear to the needy; heal the ungodly;
restore the wanderers of thy people;
feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners;
raise up the sick; comfort the faint-hearted.
(Clement of Rome, 1st Century)