* 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.
Friday 19 December
Read: Isaiah 52:7-12
(light three candles)
Most schools in North America begin their two-week holiday break today. Christmas Day is less than a week away and many of our Christmas celebrations have already begun. “The signs of the season” are all around us. Trees and sugar cookies alike have been decorated. Presents are wrapped and beginning to accumulate. Meals are planned and special desserts are being baked. Laughter and games around family tables are anticipated, if not already taking place.
Yet, as good and festive as this season is for some of us, this season evokes a deep lament and more pointed longing for others of us. Family gatherings are marked by the pains of dissolved marriages, of estranged siblings and children who won’t or can’t come home, and of the potent absence of loved ones who have passed away.
The entangling cycles of poverty relegate presents to the land of fairy tale fantasies. Imposing governments and threatening neighbors prevent open worship and celebration of Jesus Christ. Lopsided economic policies, corrupt government officials, rampant violence among organized crime syndicates, drug cartels, and toxic political dialogue have branded some of us as illegal and undocumented and left us without recourse or hope no matter what country they are in. War and disease continue to ravish and displace millions of people. Sex trafficking and slavery isolate, abuse, and destroy dignity, hope, and life in millions more. And we’ve yet to consider the compounding weight on all of us because of our cultural disregard for life through abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty.
Oh! to see the feet of those who will proclaim the good news and announce the good tidings that salvation has come to the whole world! “No more death, no mourning, no crying, no pain. The old order of each and every destructive structure and relationship has passed away. Jesus has returned and all has been made new!”
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, that the light of your life may fill us with everlasting joy as we anticipate your coming kingdom! Amen.