A daily reflection drawing from Advent Bible passages – to help us grow as we live out our faith in the everyday moments of life.
Welcome to the Advent Collective, day 9
When I was at school a friend’s family threw a big birthday party. I don’t know whose party it was, but myself and a small posse were best friends with the daughter. So we got an invite. The friend’s house was fairly small but it was part of a run of houses with shared gardens. Don’t think Sheffield terraces, this is Wiltshire, think lots of green space. They hired a large marquee, a disco and DJ . The food! The decorations! The drink! Everything beautifully arranged with great care and attention to every detail.
There were loads of people, we partied on into the night it was an awesome time.
The friends had been invited to stay over, on the condition that we help tidy up the following morning. So at the end of the party, we got out our sleeping bags and bed down for what was left of the night.
It had been a great time, so much fun! But I will never forget waking up the following morning to the utter devastation.
I was groggy from too much food, a little too much drink and having not had nearly enough sleep, pulling on yesterdays clothes… and then walking outside…
The marquee was still standing – that was something – but the mess! Left over food, paper plates, beer cans, empty bottles of wine… one can only marvel at the ingenuity of some people to be able to finish a drink and get the empties into such creative locations. Mess everywhere!
The night before… full of such fun, laughter and life…
The morning after… emptiness, brokenness and carnage.
I wonder if you know the feeling?
The highs followed by the deep lows…
And I’m not just talking about the low after a great celebration… Or the silence after the raging storm,
But euphoria, the expectation, the hope… Lost.
The empty room after your eldest child has left for university
The days, weeks, even months following a broken relationship.
The loss of a job
The death of a loved one
Or another period of flipping self isolation!
Do you know that feeling?
Now let’s take that feeling and magnify it 100,000 times…. Or across an entire nation
Our reading today is Isaiah 61:1-4
Here Isaiah the great prophet, speaks to the remnant of a broken nation.
A kingdom long divided, battles fought and lost, the few returning to the promised land, which had been reduced to rubble and over run with thorns…
A nation called by God, that had shown such early promise, but experienced such abject failure, total ruin, complete despair.
When all hope was lost… reality looked so bleak, Isaiah spoke these words:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
Into the stark reality of life – life that can be both brutal and beautiful – God speaks a promise and reveals the job description of Jesus, his anointing from the father, the call on his life.
So how are we doing today people of God?
Broken-hearted? Feeling stuck, overwhelmed, grieving a life lost or feeling down and in despair?
People of God:
Wait for Jesus…
Reach out for Jesus…
Listen for Jesus…
In Jesus, all the promises of God are yes and amen!
FREEDOM! RELEASE! FAVOUR! COMFORT! PROVISION! BEAUTY! JOY! PRAISE!
Isaiah goes on to say
We will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
we will display his splendour.
We will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
We will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations
You see, you and me… we are anointed… one with Jesus… we share his ministry… we are carriers of good news, great news, the most wonderful, beautiful, life changing news…
We get to proclaim freedom…
To release captives
To provide comfort
To be bringers of the gift of hope.
I have no doubt that today, we need Jesus!
Today, the world needs Jesus
Today, our friends, neighbours, colleagues, need Jesus… and us to speak of him!
People of God, whose life will you bring a little hope to today?