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Advent Devotional – December 4, 2019

By: Sara Babcock

Readings: Isaiah 54:1-10; Matthew 24:23-35; Psalm 124

I spend a lot of time wishing the world was different, or at the very least that things would  change faster. I wish that everyone was safe, housed, fed, loved, and truly free to live happy lives. And then when I’m done wishing, I pray — mostly for discernment in how I can work towards the world I keep wishing for. It’s slow going, let me tell you. 

I’m starting to think that that may be all we get: wishing, hoping, longing for a world that we may never see. And I’m also starting to think that’s not such a bad thing. In our text today from Matthew, Jesus warns the disciples not to be led by “false prophets;” not to chase them into the wilderness or further into the house. It can be so easy to get lost in the wilderness when trying to change the world; there’s so much wrong to right it can be impossible to know where to start, or what is actually helpful. Or to get so frustrated that I am content with burrowing into the house and ignoring the pain around me. 

In Matthew 24:32 Jesus gets botanical: “‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.” It’s the tenderness that struck me, the vulnerability that leads to new life. Time and again the Bible tells us that it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and that’s where this longing is for me. It’s painful to keep longing for a better world, but that pain keeps me connected, and drives me to keep making what we’ve got better. 

Lord, we are preparing. Preparing for the season, for your child, for the world to come. Keep our hearts open and our eyes clear, so that in our longing for you and your Kin-dom we may also continue to strive for a world living in your light. On Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen. 

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