Originally published Sunday, 01 December 2013.
I want this year to be different. I want to stay out of the rut of all the coming and going and buying and fretting that comes with the commercialized Christmas. I want to peel back the layers of familiarity of the season, the familiar carols, the familiar food, the familiar traditions and seek the AWE and Wonder of the Advent –– the coming–– of our savior Jesus. All of this familiar is a good thing. Yes. But what is not good is when we let it become routine instead of worship. Join me today on our Advent Awe and Wonder Day 1.
Each day we will use the Advent readings listed in THE VOICE Bible. I will post the Scripture from that translation each day, but feel free to seek out the words in your own Bible as well. I love the poetic nature of THE VOICE and I think it will aid in our seeking of the fresh and new this Advent as this translation is new to many of you. *** You can also find THE VOICE on BibleGateway.com Let's get started. Grab your journal a pen and a hot beverage. I've got my Earl Grey tea. I don't drink coffee...can you IMAGINE how hyper I'd be with that level of caffeine!
Today's Scripture: Isaiah 11: 2-5
2 And on this child from David’s line, the Spirit of the Eternal One will alight and rest. By the Spirit of wisdom and discernment He will shine like the dew. By the Spirit of counsel and strength He will judge fairly and act courageously. By the Spirit of knowledge and reverence of the Eternal One, 3 He will take pleasure in honoring the Eternal. He will determine fairness and equity; He will consider more than what meets the eye, And weigh in more than what he’s told. 4 So that even those who can’t afford a good defense will nevertheless get a fair and equitable judgment. With just a word, He will end wickedness and abolish oppression. With nothing more than the breath of His mouth, He will destroy evil. 5 He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth; the impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.
The first time I read this Scripture I was confused as to why this passage about God's judgement and authority was included in our Advent Scripture line up. Because, don't we just love the warm and fuzzy Scripture that makes us feel good about Jesus rather than think of Him as strict and stringent judge?
Here is a neat Christmas paradox for us as we seek out Awe and Wonder: We worship a Savior who's character is defined by LOVE and high authority. Jesus sits His heavenly throne judging the sin, the crime, the ugly in the world. Our sin, our crime and our ugly, yes. But, He also extends His strong arm of forgiveness as He did on the cross–– all in love. In LOVE He took our place for ultimate judgement. In love, He took on human form and came to us as a babe born not in a kingly palace, but among peasants. In LOVE, He walked this earth to be our ultimate example of godliness for He never sinned yet He took our place in judgement...in LOVE. In LOVE, Jesus sent His Spirit to us who commit our lives to Him. We have the very presence of God, the Holy Spirit, in our hearts so that we too can live...in LOVE towards others.
Oh thank you Lord, for the Holy Counselor, for in my flesh I can not love others. It is in Your guidance through the Spirit that I can look past my own agenda and daily busy-ness. I can look past my own insecurities and short comings to be Your hands and feet to those who need Your love.
~Take time to write out a line or two from the Scripture above. Prayerfully use your pen in worship as you scribble the words on paper and inscribe them on your heart today. ~I mentioned the strange Christmas paradox of a lovely baby who grew into a strong man we call Jesus. The image of love and the image of authority and judgement go hand in hand to define our King. Because of His love, we stand NOT in judgment before God. Write out your thoughts to this Christmas paradox. What comes to mind?
~Journal through this prayer. Write your thoughts to the following prayer prompt.
Father God, our King, our Judge and ultimately our Savior, show me how to live in LOVE by your Holy Spirit...
Awe and Wonder:
Today, take time in prayer and thanksgiving that His forgiveness extends to us even when we let the stress and busy of life get in the way of worship. See His Awe and Wonder as You extend your own grace and mercy today. Ask God to lead you to serve someone today some way, some how. Through the eyes of Jesus, let the Spirit work past your own self-focused desires today to live IN LOVE.
Thoughts? Leave a comment...let's chat!
Check back in tomorrow for Day 2.
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