* This post is part of an Advent devotional, being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here.
Monday: 1 December
Read: Isaiah 1:1-4
(Light a candle)
The confrontational tone and accusations of Isaiah’s opening verses sound so out of place with the festive décor in the stores and streets around us. Channels of Christmas cheer inundate our early morning commute and our morning latte. Vibrant greens, animated reindeer, and the jingling bells at the Salvation Army kettle are much more familiar, much more fitting to our seasonal sensibilities. Isaiah’s bold declaration of our rebellion against God clashes with the rhythms and priorities of our North American culture, especially in this ‘holiday’ season.
Yet, Isaiah’s words describe our reality in a way that our culture seems unwilling, if not unable, to do so for itself. We enter Advent as a people estranged from, even in rebellion against God. Too often we fail to recognize just how thoroughly entangled in our own sins we have become. We begin this Advent season as people who need to hear these words in order to see ourselves as we really are. We are a people who do not see the full extent of our sins or the ways in which we continue to ignore and rebel against God. As we allow these words to name our reality, we begin to see that we are hopelessly lost in our sinfulness. But these words from Isaiah are not intended to weigh us down with guilty burdens. Rather, in exposing the extent of our sins, we gain the vantage point from which we can begin to glimpse how expansive God’s grace in Jesus Christ really is.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, that the light of your life may fill us with the living hope that our sins will be no more. Amen.