Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Week One: Hope Day One

Isaiah 9:1-3
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever… there will be a time in the future when Galilee...which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory…The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice…


These words of hope were written about 700 years before Christ came to earth. Jesus grew up in Nazareth in the region of Galilee, exactly as Isaiah had foretold. I love the visual image of light blazing out into the darkness. The hope in this passage shines like a beacon, a beautiful metaphor for the appearing of the long-awaited Messiah, the one the Apostle John called “the Light.”

God’s glory walked among ordinary people, a man who looked, spoke, and lived like others in the region. Sometimes God’s glory shone brightly and people were amazed, convicted of sin, delivered and healed. At other times Jesus passed through crowds of people and slipped away unnoticed.

Do you suppose there was anything remarkable about the boy Jesus, growing up in a small town, attending school, playing with friends, maybe having a crush on a girl? Perhaps, but than again, maybe not, at least most of the time. Scripture seems to imply that he looked quite ordinary.

Still, God himself walked among them. They simply did not see. God’s glory can sometimes show up in unlikely places and in unlikely people. I think God delights in surprising us in this way, but we must pay attention.

Times of darkness will inevitably come. In dark times, continue to hope in the Light of the World. As we wait in hope, God may choose to show up in unexpected ways. Let’s be paying attention in these days of anticipation! Where might we see Jesus appear?

Challenge: Let go of preconceived notions of who or what God will use to speak to you.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to watch in expectation for what you want to show me, to listen for your voice and to see you wherever you may choose to appear. Amen