Devotional for December 21
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
I happened upon this verse in my daily devotional in October and the word peace jumped out at me. “Ah, there’s my springboard for the Advent devotion I’m to write”, I immediately thought. With all that has shaken our lives in 2020, including an actual earthquake (aren’t we all grateful the hills were not removed?!), it seemed a perfect prompt. As Christians, we all claim that God loves us without fail, that He has compassion for us, and that the promise of His peace is foundational to our faith. These are what living a sanctified life in Christ are about.
One thing I have learned as I’ve entered my senior years is to attempt to NOT take a Bible verse out of context. So, I began reading Isaiah 54 and I learned a great deal more than I thought I would. Yay, my senior brain can still learn! And learning as much as I can about God’s Word, well, that’s always a good thing, right?
The 54th chapter of Isaiah is about the prosperity of the church and was written in B.C. 706, long before Jesus was born. Long before the church was established. God knew what He wanted Isaiah to do. Isn’t that amazing?! Well, we DO have an amazing God!
God also knows what He wants us to do with this year and with this Advent season.
During this extremely frustrating, scary, taxing, beyond difficult year, the prosperity (and I’m not talking money) of our church and THE church has been tested. As I write this in mid-October, we are just barely back into the physical building. We’ve not seen most of our co-Mt. Tabor members/friends in person since mid-March. We are longing for Sheri and her crew to feed us on Wednesday nights at Tabor Table; we want to sing again with one another in the choir loft or on the Alspaugh stage or in the pews or rows of seats; we crave the in-person company of our small group or Sunday school class members. And those are the things that we typically do or have during the entire church year.
In the month of November, we missed our annual pre-Thanksgiving potluck meal. Adam and the Chancel Choir will not gift us with their lovely music that helps put us all in the “right Christmas spirit” a few weeks before Christmas Day. Higher Ground will not give us the annual Christmas play where John Giles or Harold Beaty give us all a good laugh at some point during the production. We will have a virtual Angel Tree instead of gathering around the usual one in the Welcome Center.
Devotion by Beverly Burton (con’t) - December 21
But mostly, we want to hug one another. Will we have to wait 706 years?! Even 706 days is too long…Boy, do I sound like a Debbie Downer?!
Advent is now upon us. Do we feel at peace in relation to our church? To THE church? Again, Isaiah 54:10, although not written about Christ’s birth, is still about Christ. And Christ IS the church. This verse reminds us that, yes, the mountains will be shaken, and the hills removed, but the LORD still loves us, still promises us peace, and still has compassion for us. Peace about accepting that we will (someday) go back to Tabor Table, and sing together, and study His Word together, and HUG ONE ANOTHER!
We will make it through this. And, I believe, we will come out stronger. The LORD has compassion on us. Don’t lose that covenant for peace during this Advent season. Or any season of your life.
Written by Beverly Burton