"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness -- on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2
What a rainy and dreary day here in Ohio as we light the first candle of advent preparation.
In Zion's morning message we talked about the preparations the world would have us do for Christmas; spending money to buy whatever they tell us we need, putting up lights and decorations over every inch of living space and preparing every recipe that will create an festive apprearance. All these things can BE OK, but only if we have done the preparations of the heart and can shop, decorate and cook out of the abundance of our joy.
The first preparation is to cut away the layers of add ons to get to the heart of the matter, our hearts to be exact. I love this C.S. Lewis quote that I have paraphrased,
"Most people if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they DO WANT, and WANT ACUTELY, something that CANNOT BE HAD IN THIS WORLD. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give this to you, BUT NO THING OF THIS WORLD can really give you what you long for in your heart"
The people of Israel, of whom the Old Testament prophets wrote, longed for deliverance from their strife, they hoped to see Messiah. In our day and age, we realize Messiah came and established His Kingdom. We now long for the day when He returns as righteousness to correct all the wrongs of the earthly kingdoms and bring eternity and community to end our exile in a world of sin.
So in the darkness, we long for light. In our isolation, we hope for community. I will keep walking in this theme this week. But I encourage you in your own quiet times - To ask God to show you where HE is at in your darkness and CLING to HIM as He walks with you through the dark time, back into the light, LONGING IN HOPE FOR MORE OF HIM.
"Restore us, O LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved"
A Prayer: Lord as we look to the birth of Jesus, grant that the light of Your love for us will deepen our HOPE and help us to become Your true light in the lives of those around us. Prepare our hearts for the joy and gladness of your coming, for Jesus is our Hope of our longing. Amen.