Thursday, December 20, 2018
Light three candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first two purple candle, the Hope and Peace candles…and light the rose or pink candle…the Joy Candle.
READ: Isaiah 66:10-14
10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her— 11 that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom. 12 For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. 13 As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies.
Sovereign God. This entire final chapter of Isaiah lifts God to God’s rightful place and sovereignty, as THE God. King. Almighty. And in God’s sovereignty, only God can bring comfort and wellbeing.
When we think about the Christmas story, we have romantic images of Mary and Jesus cuddled up and perfect. “No crying he makes.” But really? I mean really? I don’t know about you and those you know, but my babies cried. Little Bit especially with her digestive issues. Birth is painful. Gross. Humbling. And yet, what our mother’s “lift up” as important about that time is making sure we were healthy, comforted, nourished and safe. Does he have all his fingers and toes? But it isn’t all just roses and sunshine. All the other gross and painful stuff is real, and it would do a disservice to Mary to gloss over it or leave it out altogether. I mean the woman gave birth in a barn! Dirty young men came running in to see!
This passage, with strong images of God as a loving mother, nourishing us and sending “prosperity” (wellbeing), helps us to put words to the reality of God’s Love. When read in context of the entire book and chapter, we know, as we know from experience, that life is not all sunshine and roses. Comfort doesn’t come from the absence of pain or trauma or disorder. Comfort and wellbeing come from trusting and knowing that God is God despite all the pain or trauma or disorder. Comfort comes from knowing that God is the very source of comfort and wellbeing. God is Sovereign. God has got us.
Sovereign God. Comforting God. Regardless of where we find ourselves in life today, you promise that you have us. You promise to send peace like a river. You sent your Son into this world, despite the pain he too would experience. Help us to find comfort in you regardless of where life finds us right now. Help us to trust and acknowledge your love for us. Forgive us when we fail and redirect us toward wellbeing in you. Amen
Can you look back on a time in your life when you felt pain or despair and looking back can see where God was present? Share with a friend or in the comments.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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