12.2 Advent Devotional
Today's Advent Devotional, on Isaiah 64:1-9, is written by Frank Lewis.
Frank is a longtime member of NorthPark Presbyterian, serving as a young adult volunteer, children's ministry volunteer, and member of the Worship & Music Committee. Frank is also a former member of Session and sings in the choir.
Flip around on the radio dial this time of year and you’ll find at least a couple of stations desperately trying to play every holiday song ever written between now and the 25th of December. One such song that I heard last week was “We Need a Little Christmas.” While it’s not my favorite holiday song to be sure, it got me thinking. Just like I need to go through Good Friday to get to Easter, I often forget that I need to go through Advent before I get to Christmas. So perhaps we could use a little Advent, right his very moment… okay I’ll stop there, you get the point.
But just a little Advent? I for one would vote for a whole lot of Advent this year. For whether in the streets of Fallujah or the streets of Ferguson, brokenness is brokenness. Whether in the halls of a synagogue in Jerusalem or the halls of an elementary school in Connecticut, terror is terror. Whether in the hospitals of Liberia or the hospitals of Dallas, suffering is suffering.
Oh yes, we need a little Advent, right this very moment.
The text from Isaiah reads in part:
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence –
as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil –
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.”
When I read this I hear frustration. I hear anger. I hear longing; a longing for things to be made right. I hear a cry to God asking God to be, well, God. How often in our lives do we experience this crazy mix of emotions? Yet perhaps the most compelling portion of the text comes from verse nine, when Isaiah reminds us:
“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Just like the broken glass in the streets of Ferguson I am reminded this Advent of all the lives and communities that are in pieces both at home and abroad. For me, Advent is a time to be still despite all the maddening distractions and frenetic schedules, and to take account of the broken pieces. But then finally, Advent is also a time to let the pieces go, and to look forward to the time when the master craftsman will once again make all things new within each of us.
My prayer is that we all take a moment during this season of hope, to be still. Still, long enough perhaps to hear that small voice that calls out to us: Adeste… Adeste Fideles. Come all ye faithful. Come to Bethlehem. Come bring your hopes, your joys and fears, your heartaches and disappointments. Come bring your angst, your anger and frustrations, your worry, and your regrets. Bring all the shards of your very being. Bring them to Bethlehem.