I had the opportunity to write a reflection for our church's Advent devotional this year. I have posted it below. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4 Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
6 Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.
As we celebrate the eve of Christ’s birth, this passage gives us perspective. “Lift up your eyes and look about you,” the prophet calls! Yes, there is darkness in the world… a palpable, “thick darkness” that we all grapple with daily. I certainly appreciate the juxtaposition of light and darkness. The Lord affirms our desires and deep pain… indeed, the darkness is all too real. But friends, so is His light. This greater reality is found in the Lord’s glory that literally covers us.
On a personal note, I couldn’t help but “lift my eyes” and notice the sentiment found in verse 4: “All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar.” As a mother of a precious son in heaven, I was incredibly touched by this vivid picture of restoration, of a son coming from afar. To glimpse a day when my children will come to me, especially the beloved son we had to bury all too soon… this day when we will take on the Lord’s radiance as we will finally see face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12), surrounded by His abundant provision.
This passage is ultimately about restoration, yes, the specific restoration for which your heart longs. It points to both the hope found in Christ’s birth, God taking on flesh, and also to the ultimate hope we have in our eternal home where all will be fully restored, Christ’s promises finally consummated.
I invite you to take in this beautiful picture of restoration, of light piercing the darkness, of abundant provision where there had been lack, and of God’s praises where there had been doubt and fear. We were once a shadow people living in darkness, but, with Christ’s incarnation, we have been brought into His glorious light. On this Christmas Eve, I pray our hearts will “throb and swell” with the Lord’s joy!
Check out this cute video of John as a shepherd with the other preschool and elementary school children at church. Meade is walking him down the aisle in this video before the children sang "Away in a Manger" during Lessons and Carols.
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