Devotions for Advent: Week 1 Wednesday

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.
Isaiah 25:6-10

Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
Matthew 15:29-37

Things are not the way they should be. Internally, everyone realizes this. Why is there such outcry, such grief, when tragedies occur? Why is there such rage and indignation when the innocent are victimized? Why is there such disgust at the brokenness of this world? Because planted in the soul of every person in the realization that this world is not as it was meant to be. Atheists betray their own knowledge when they despair over the calamities of this planet. If there is no God there is no explanation for the universal hope and expectation of justice, peace, and prosperity. If we are the products of random accident that is all we should expect out of existence: just more and more bangs.

The hope of Advent is the hope of joy. It is the hope of a banquet richly furnished and joyfully received. It is the hope of no more death. It is the hope of no more sorrow. It is the hope for God dwelling on earth.

The coming of Jesus is that hope. When Jesus comes pains are erased. When Jesus comes hope is reborn. When Jesus comes God is glorified by all who see him. When Jesus comes no one goes hungry. When Jesus comes all are satisfied. The grace of Jesus is always greater than the need of man.

The hope of Advent is the joy of restoration. Jesus is the restoration. Even as we await his coming, we live in the confidence that Jesus restores even now. Pain still comes. Loss still comes. But Jesus never leaves.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

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