Daily Encouragement - December 9

Psalm 126 Common English Bible A pilgrimage song. When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming. Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter; our tongues were filled with joyful shouts. It was even said, at that time, among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them!” Yes, the Lord has done great things for us, and we are overjoyed. Lord, change our circumstances for the better, like dry streams in the desert waste! Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts. Let those who go out, crying and carrying their seed, come home with joyful shouts, carrying bales of grain! This is our Psalm scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for this coming Sunday. We’re unsure whether the psalmist is recalling history or if perhaps they are looking towards a future for the community of Gods people. What we do know is that this is a Psalm that deals ultimately with putting our complete trust in God. Like Lent, Advent is a season of preparation, self-examination, repentance and restoration. The culture around us celebrates the “joy" of Easter and Christmas, but it's really more a general sense of warm and fuzzy feelings connected to holiday memories with family and friends. Real joy, however, only comes after we've been willing to allow God to deal with the brokenness in our lives, which is what the preparatory seasons of Lent and Advent are designed to do. We can't really express the joy of being found, in other words, unless we are first able to name the fact that we've been lost, our identity compromised, and our fortunes squandered on things that have no ultimate value. We light the candle of "joy" during Advent because we want to recognize that the coming of Jesus is the climax of all of history and, in his life, death and resurrection, Jesus has redeemed that checkered human history not only for us, but for the whole world. That's why the babe in the manger is the ultimate discovery. When we were lost, God came to find us. Take comfort in that dear friends through these days in Advent. Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing. Pastor Michael Williams

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