In my devotional reading I'm starting to see that not only is Advent a time of waiting -- reflecting on how Mary and Joseph, and Israel itself, awaited the birth of Jesus, and how we wait for Him to come again -- but it is also a time of promise.
God has made so many promises to His people. And as it says in 2 Corinthians 1:20,
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.To all of my questions, doubts and fears, God simply says, Jesus. He does not promise that we will be protected from danger and damage -- but He does promise that we will never be alone. He does not promise that I will have a solution to every problem, but He does say that all will be made right eventually in Him.
His promise is simple, yet utterly profound: Jesus. After so many years of relationship with Him, I still cannot begin to know how large and real and comprehensive that promise is.
We await Him during this Advent, and this waiting can and should prompt us to want to live an Advent life always, anticipating Him and His return as the only true meaning of my life. What I am realizing is that the only way to do that is to live in the light of His promise. I was reminded of that this morning as I read Isaiah 9:1-7,
1 But there'll be no darkness for those who were in trouble. Earlier he did bring the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali into disrepute, but the time is coming when he'll make that whole area glorious— the road along the Sea, the country past the Jordan, international Galilee.
2-7The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
you expanded its joy.
Oh, they're so glad in your presence!
The joy of a great celebration,
sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon's old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He'll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He'll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He'll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this. (The Message)
I know that the words of Isaiah were written 600 years before Jesus came to earth. Reading them another two thousand years after that tells me that we are people who are wading in the stream of faith history. It is a surging river, and I must grip God's hand tightly if I am to navigate these waters without stumbling. I want to keep my life within the perspective of God's eternity. Otherwise, my issues are small and ridiculous.
In this Isaiah prophecy I also see how many of those promises have been answered ~ which helps me persevere as I still wait for others to come to fruition.
So I will wait, because I have been given a sure and steady promise.