12.8 Advent Devotional
Today's Advent Devotional, on Psalm 40, is written by Chris Arends.
Chris is a member of NorthPark Presbyterian, along with his wife, Susan, and boys Robert and Nick. Chris is active in the Boy Scouts, volunteers as an usher and is a member of the Lost Horizons small group.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
The holiday season is all about traditions. In our house that means carrying the Christmas tree home from a nearby nursery, early Christmas Eve service, a sing-a-long through the 12 days of Christmas cul-de-sac, eating pizza while watching Holiday Inn and homemade mini-cinis on Christmas morning.
At the time of the first Christmas, Mary and Joseph may have seen themselves in “the desolate pit” the psalmist describes. The Lord had given them a miracle child, but they may not have seen it that way at first. Instead of the packed airplanes and long lines that we experience during holiday travel, they had a long, slow donkey ride, getting into town after all the rooms were full. Not exactly a joyful time and place.
While most of us know people with unique holiday traditions, I wonder how they compare to what might have been the traditions for those who experienced the birth of Jesus?
Did Mary take a long donkey ride and sleep in a stable every Christmas Eve? Did the older shepherds make the younger shepherds dress up like angels and sing? While everyone can always use more gold, how much frankincense and myrrh does one family need?
My guess is that the following Christmas there weren’t any angels singing or wise men bearing gifts. There was probably just waiting. Waiting to see what new challenges God had planned for them. Waiting to see if Jesus would fulfill the promise that was foretold. Like Mary, Joseph, and the psalmist, if we wait patiently, the Lord will making our steps secure and give us a new song of praise to the Lord.
Maybe we all need to start a new tradition. Waiting patiently on the Lord.