Advent, in our faith tradition is time of great waiting. It is holding our breath and waiting for Emmanuel, God-with-us to arrive. It is carrying a great hope through our ordinary, everyday moments. There is a focus on justice, healing, truth, and all of the things that Christ will bring. It is opening ourselves honestly to the pain and struggle of our lives and the world and praying “Come, Lord, Jesus.”
There is a steadfast patience and a desperate cry.
Then there is a humble baby, sleeping in a feeding trough, who has come to call us to freedom, unconditional love, and light.
But sometimes this gets lost in the rush and wild frenzy of Christmas plans and preparations.
In this season, I wanted to offer a time to pause, sit with God in the midst of all this season carries this year.
Below is a selected reading from Isaiah 11:1-10. Spend some time reading it through slowly. Maybe even incorporate Lectio Divina into your reading time.
But on this humbled ground, a tiny shoot, hopeful and promising, will sprout from Jesse’s stump;
A branch will emerge from his roots to bear fruit.
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, 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.
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. He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth;
the impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.
A day will come when the wolf will live peacefully beside the wobbly-kneed lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
The calf and yearling, newborn and slow, will rest secure with the lion; and a little child will tend them all.
Bears will graze with the cows they used to attack; even their young will rest together,
and the lion will eat hay, like gentle oxen.
Neither will a baby who plays next to a cobra’s hole
nor a toddler who sticks his hand into a nest of vipers suffer harm.
All my holy mountain will be free of anything hurtful or destructive, for as the waters fill the sea,
The entire earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Eternal. Then on that day, that root from Jesse’s line
will stand as a signal for the peoples of the world Who will come to Him seeking guidance and direction;
and glory will be restored to the land where He resides.
After you have spent some time in the scripture, pray through the following questions:
- What do you hold in hopeful waiting this Advent season?
- What do you desire from God for the next few weeks as we celebrate the long-awaited
coming of Jesus? In what ways can you clear space for and await Jesus in your life?
- In what simple ways can you mark the coming days as different?
- What does God invite you to in this time? If you accept that invitation what will you have to disengage from or say no to?