Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/13/2022: Isaiah 35:1-6

Today please be in prayer for

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Today's Lectionary Text

Isaiah 35:1-6

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and shouting.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.]]

Strengthen the weak hands
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf shall be opened;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert;

Today's Devotional

This week I heard a news story about different Advent calendars one can now buy to help countdown to Christmas. There is a beef jerky calendar, a wine calendar, the traditional chocolate calendar, and even a jewelry calendar that costs a mere $23,000! The story said Advent calendars make it fun to countdown to something and they allow people to taste a little of a product without investing all the way.

I don’t think these people know what Advent means. It comes from the Latin word adventus, “coming.” For the last 1,400 years or so, Christians have celebrated Advent in the weeks before Christmas as a way to prepare for the coming, the arrival, of Jesus.

Advent is about waiting, and longing, and anticipation, all of which an Advent calendar can help us feel; but only if each day’s treat is paired with a scripture to read or prayer to pray. Like Isaiah 40:4 that reminds us of God’s promise that one day pain and suffering will be gone, “every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low.” Or Zechariah 9:10 that tells of a coming Savior, "he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea.” In faith we wait for the fulfillment of these promises. We pray for the day when the world looks more like God’s kingdom of peace.

Advent and Advent calendars are not a clever marketing ploy. They are a tool to deepen faith. Please don’t spend $23,000 on one! And if you do buy a wine or beef jerky calendar this year, enjoy the fun, but don’t mistake it for preparation for Christmas. Use prayer, reflection and generosity to the hurting to help us wait for God’s promises to come.

-- Rev. Amy Lippoldt, senior pastor
Papillion St. Paul's UMC

Prayer for Reflection

Lord, we know the world is not as you want it to be. It is not as we want it to be! We trust in your power to make all things new, to bring peace and joy to the whole world. Help us to wait with hope for the coming of your kingdom. Amen.


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