category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 10

Tuesday, December 8

Isaiah 4:2–6; Acts 11:1–18

As I was driving down the Bostic Sunshine Highway in my Ford pickup truck with all the windows down listening to Willie Nelson singing “It’s All Going to Pot,” I could not help but reflect on Isaiah’s description of Judah at the time of this writing. In the first four chapters he gives a description of a world gone to pot. Many of the men had been killed; warriors had been slain in battle; the women known for their beauty were now scags and so desperate that seven women were willing to share a husband just to have a name for their child. I am sure some of the men who were left behind were hitting the Jerusalem South Highway singing with Willie “It’s All Going to Pot.”

Everything that was good and beautiful in Judah was now trashed and destroyed. The people in Jerusalem and Judah were brought to their knees by their sorrow. Through sin the country was in a state of national disintegration. It was a dire time and as they looked for anything good in their world it could not be found.

Yet, the prophet knows God is working. Out of the corner of his optimistic eye in the squalor of the pigpen he sees it—God’s Branch sprouting green and lush.

There is HOPE. In his wisdom he hears the HOLY Jerusalem will be renewed. Those who have survived will receive a HOLY bath. They will be clean; they can again hold their heads high. HOPE is here. It may just now be a sprig in the midst of the filth, the squalor, the destruction, but touched by the HOLY it will give HOPE and restoring FAITH.

At this ADVENT season it may feel like the world is going to pot, yet as we STOP, LOOK, LISTEN there is HOPE and it is for everyone—Black, White, Baptist, Catholic, Jew, Gentile. The SAVIOR OF ALL IS COMING.

As Martin Niemöller, a German Lutheran Pastor during the Holocaust, reminds us: “IF YOU BELIEVE IN GOD YOU CAN AFFORD TO WAIT.”

Jim Whitlow
Retired Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling

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