category: Advent

Advent Devotion: Day 4

Wednesday, November 30

Isaiah 54:1-10; Matthew 24:23-25

For many families, there seems to be a month of the year that is particularly difficult. It is often a month that carries painful anniversaries. For me, that month is November, the month that marks the birthdate and death date of my infant son and daughter, my daughter’s being today, November 30. Our passage from Isaiah 54 speaks deeply to this piece of my story, beginning with the opening imperative to “Shout for joy, O barren one . . .” This is a passage about trust, promise, and redemption, the heart of the Advent season.

The opening verses implore the exiled Israelites to trust the redemptive works of God that perhaps in the moment they cannot recognize or feel. God asks them to trust he will so completely restore and redeem them that they will be stronger and greater in number than before their Babylonian internment. Like the exiled Israelites in the barrenness of captivity, I needed to receive God’s assurance and encouragement in my own barrenness, widowhood, deep loss, and waiting. I needed to know that God had not abandoned me and that his work on my behalf was not finished.

God’s people needed this message then. God’s people need this message now. The state of our nation and world with so much overt hate, division, violence, and destruction can leave us feeling as though God is angry and has removed God’s self far from our situation; however, notice the resounding truth given us in verses 9-10. God assures us, saying, “I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you . . . My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed.” God did in fact redeem and restore the Israelites, and God continues to restore and redeem my personal story as I am now remarried with two bonus sons.

As we prepare our hearts and minds for the arrival of the Christ Child, may we embrace the assurance that God is redeeming our stories and strengthening our lives to fulfill God’s purposes. Let us shout for joy!

Leah Crowley Leath
School of Divinity Graduate

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