Weekly Devotional – Week of Monday, December 7, 2020
Almighty God, ruler of Heaven and Earth. Come now and fill our hearts with the beauty of your eternal Word. By your Word you spoke all things into existence and by your Word all things are made new. Through the power of your Holy Spirit speak your Word into our hearts today. Plant it deep into our hearts, so that it may take root, grow, and bear its most precious fruit in our lives. All this we pray through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Bible Reading – Matthew 12:15-21
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known.
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20 a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;
21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (English Standard Version)
Devotional –Advent Hope
Have you ever heard the saying, “On a wing and a prayer”? Most likely you have heard it and perhaps even used it at some time. The saying is used when there is little chance of success. Not surprisingly it likely has its origins in the aviation world. It is believed that a pilot during World War II used this saying when he radioed the Tower as he was making his approach for landing. While not much more is known about it, I can just imagine this pilot with engines failing or perhaps landing gear stuck, flying in with little hope of survival. Today we use the saying in regard to our own ventures in life that we believe have little to no hope of success.
Unfortunately, this is the way most of us regard our relationship with God. Most of us find ourselves thinking that eternal salvation as nothing more than a “wing and a prayer.” That we all are flying in with engines burning and landing gear failing with little hope of making a successful landing. Karl Marx believed that religion was nothing more than “opium for the people.” Meaning that it gave people a false notion of hope, that they desperately needed to get through the pain and suffering of life. Unfortunately, we all at times consciously or unconsciously take this same view. Especially when life gets hard and the future seems especially bleak.
Advent is a season where this false notion that life is nothing more than a “wing and a prayer” gets exposed and obliterated. Christian hope is not some “opium for the people”, but rather a sure and certain hope of things to come. The God who created all things, put on flesh, and came among us broke through the pain and suffering of this fallen world to save us from our sins. God came in His Son Jesus Christ to bring justice and victory over sin, death, and the devil. Because Jesus came, hope is never just a “wing and a prayer”, it is a certain reality. Nothing we are going through is beyond redemption. Nothing we have done or left undone is beyond forgiveness. Christina Rossetti perhaps penned it best in her song, “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.
God has come to save us. God continues to come into our lives daily to meet us amid the darkest times of our lives, and Jesus will come again soon to make all things new. Advent is a season of sure and certain hope because of what God has done in love for us.
Almighty God, you alone are the hope of the world. As we find ourselves cast in the midst of a dark and fallen world will you come and fill our hearts. Plant in us a sure and certain confidence in the works of your hands. Give us eyes to see the ways you have been at work in all of history and the confidence to trust you with all things present and to come. Renew our hearts and minds in the hope of your eternal Gospel and allow us to be beacons of the hope we have in Christ to a world that is consumed by darkness. All this we ask in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.