Advent Devotion for December 22
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “God is with us!”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 8:5-10
5 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 6 “My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah. 7 Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels 8 and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9 “Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified.
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
10 Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless.
Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed.
For God is with us!”
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28:20
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
SOME THOUGHTS: The passage from Isaiah continues the story from yesterday. The Assyrians are coming to overrun Judah. God has pleaded with Judah to trust him for their protection yet they have rejected him. The enemy nearly squashed Judah except for Jerusalem. As it turned out, Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, (yes, there really was a Hezekiah!), had the faith his father didn’t, and put his trust in God to deliver his people. God remained with his people throughout the whole ordeal and the Assyrians where humiliated as God single-handedly wiped out the whole army. The commander returned home and was assassinated by his own sons while worshiping his false god. The point being driven home here, and in Matthew, is that our God is a God who is with his people in every situation all the time. The Greek gods, the Buddha’s, the Ishvara, Bhagavan, Brahman, Allah, and gods of other religions are all distant, mythical gods. *Christianity is the only faith where the eternal God, who has never not existed, took on human flesh and lived on earth for thirty-some years among his people. Our God was physically, literally “with us.” He was killed and was raised from death to life. He is living with us, his people, now. He never leaves his children. One of the challenging realities is living today with the awareness that God is continually with me, to lead, and to guide. If Advent is about looking for the “coming” of the Savior, then Advent is a daily occurrence, today and every day. The Lord is walking with you today. You are not alone…ever.
*If there are other ways to God, then the cross was completely unnecessary, waste, and a fraud.
MUSIC: "The Wexford Carol" Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss (YouTube) - Absolutely gorgeous!!
PRAYER: May he who created everything keep the number of his chosen people, throughout the world, up to the strength he fixed for them through his dear Child, Jesus Christ. Through him, he called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge of the glory of his name. You alone watch over the interests of spiritual beings, you are the God of all flesh. You gaze into the depths, you watch what men are doing. You are our help in danger, you save the despairing, Creator and Keeper of all that is spiritual. We beg you, Lord, to help and defend us. Deliver the oppressed, pity the insignificant, raise the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the sick. Glory and splendor be yours through him, now at this moment in every generation age after age. Amen.
- Adapted from -Clement of Rome, c.96 AD (one of Peter’s successors in Rome)