“2Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. 3With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. 5Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. 6Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” – Isaiah 12:2-6
I have read and re-read this passage from Isaiah. I find it to be chock full of ideas and commands.
First, we are to trust and not be afraid. But, on the day I am writing this it is the day Hawker union employees have voted down the proposed contract. This makes me afraid for my community. However, Isaiah says, “trust in our God and not be afraid. The Lord is my strength.” This is comforting, yet I am still concerned.
Then we are commanded to give thanks. In this country, and at this time we have plenty for which to be thankful.
Now, for us Presbyterians here comes the hard part. “Make known among nations what he has done.” Yes, we send a member or two to El Salvador and our mission dollars support other unnamed missionaries in strange places. Is that enough? In Isaiah I do not believe it is just about informing other nations but it is also about our neighbors. When is the last time we invited a neighbor to worship with us? Do we even talk about our church life with friends? Do we discuss what we learn in church with co-workers, neighbors, strangers? As we think through this advent season in anticipation of the wonderful gift from God, why don’t we pray and think about this command; “make known among others what He has done”?
The last verse is the easy one: “sing aloud and sing for joy.” Again. I believe it is more than just singing. It is living a life so filled with joy that it is unmistakable that something miraculous has touched our lives. This birth that we anticipate is such a remarkable gift, a gift that frees us from our demons so that “I will trust and not be afraid.”
Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you this day with joy in our hearts. We know what gift we will be celebrating soon. We know that through your son we are forgiven, we are free from our demons, we are saved. We are eternally grateful for that gift. Give us the strength, courage and tools to make known among nations and our colleagues and friends of the gifts you have given us. Today we give you praise, we sing with joy of your greatness. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
~ By Bill Buchanan
From the: 2010 Advent Devotional Booklet, First Presbyterian Church, Wichita, Kansas