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Advent Devotional – December 9, 2019

By: Sarah Johnson

Readings: Isaiah 24:1-16a, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Psalm 21

The passage from Psalm tells us, rather intensely, that we will destroy our enemies, and their
wicked, plotting descendants. I think a simple first pass has us imagining human enemies, but as we
look at the other texts- a foretelling of our destruction of the earth and a command that we care for our
bodies- thoughts of enemies of a different nature emerge.

Many enemies threaten our care for ourselves- addiction, toxic relationships, unhealthy habits,
trauma. And their descendants, or lingering effects, can stay with us long after we’ve slain them. It can
be difficult to set healthy boundaries, to prioritize self-care, and to be kind to ourselves in the midst of a
battle.

We are entrusted with caring for creation, but we sometimes forget that creation includes us.
How do we need to start caring for ourselves? What healthy boundaries do we need to set as
we move through Advent and start a new year?

Longing is not just a season of waiting, it’s a time for preparing. What self-work is needed to
restore us, to prepare us to find what we seek? Which enemies do we need to conquer so that we can
prioritize the care of our bodies- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual? How can we begin to heal
and prepare for that which we long?

Lord, we thank you for your presence with us in our time of longing. We ask for clarity on
that which we need to heal and the enemies that must be conquered so that we may care for
the bodies and the lives you’ve given us. We seek your guidance on what harmful patterns and
practices we need to leave in this year so that we can bring health and healing into the next. Let
us be prepared to receive that for which we are longing. In your holy name, amen.

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