category: Advent

Advent Devotion: Day 22

Sunday, December 18

Isaiah 7:10-16; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

Signs are interesting! They are a clear and direct way of communicating. We are taught their meaning from an early age. When my children were young, they could spot the sign for Chick-fil-A from miles away. They knew that sign meant yummy chicken with an ice cream treat. When we learn to drive, we learn to follow the signs that direct us in the way we should go. These signs often prevent chaos and tragedy when followed properly. When we go into a movie theater or airplane, the exit signs are clearly communicated to us so that in case of an emergency, we know how to leave the building properly. Often we pay attention to signage, but sometimes we are so distracted that we miss signs that are right in front of us, pointing us in the right direction.

A sign’s purpose is to guide us to safety and to give us direction. When we all follow them, signs keep us moving on the best path for ourselves and for others. Many times in my life I have asked for God just to give me a sign, a clear sign that I’m doing the right thing or possibly a sign that everything in life will be okay. Most of the time, however, God is not so direct. Instead, God speaks to me often in more subtle ways. To see or hear God clearly, I must pay close attention and spend a lot of time with God.

Here in Isaiah, we are boldly shown the “sign” that directs us to God’s presence. God is distinctly giving us the prompt and nudge to return to a relationship with God. The direction to safety and for guidance is all given in this sign: “A babe born of a virgin, and he will be called ‘Immanuel.’” In this instance God is saying that a way has been made for restoration and it is Jesus, “Immanuel.” This babe is the one who brings restoration. Here is our sign, the sign that points to Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. God with us. Immanuel. This is no subtle sign, but one that is very clear, pointing us to safety. May we all look at and see the sign that God has displayed brightly for us this season, and may we be reminded that God is with us, Immanuel!

Missy Smith
School of Divinity Graduate

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