Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 17, 2015
By Tripp Prince.
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 12:6
As autumn gives way to winter, the days grow shorter and colder. In my home, we enter into a slower rhythm of life, typically consisting of hot coffee in the morning and warm, glowing fires in the evening. And in many ways, this is a welcome change of pace. However, as we find ourselves in the midst of the darkness of winter, we are also rapidly approaching the coming of the great light that shines in the darkness (John 1:5), and it is important to ask ourselves: are we ready to greet the Lord with cries of joy?
The season of Advent is a time of waiting and holy preparation for Christ’s birth, but this preparation is never meant to be passive or disengaged. We must remember that waiting is not the same thing as inactivity. For Christians, the act of waiting is closely linked to recalling and celebrating God’s faithfulness and goodness to his people.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5).
Time and time again Scripture invites us to cry out with joy, to rejoice in the God of our salvation. I find these verses deeply encouraging because they are not bound to the trials or the joys of our life. We aren’t called to sing for joy only when life is going well, but even in pain and sorrow. We as Christians have cause for great rejoicing, for as Paul’s letter to the Philippians reminds us, the Lord is near.
Christmas isn’t simply a celebration of the end of pain and brokenness but is instead a celebration of our God who draws near and enters into our brokenness to heal us and make us whole.
You may find yourself filled with anxiety and fear. Your thoughts may rush to the pain of broken relationships or lost loved ones. Yet this brokenness must never leave you paralyzed in your fear, shame, or doubt. It is precisely in these moments that God wants you to cry out to him in prayer, trusting in his love and gracious care for you.
This Advent, we prepare for Christmas by remembering the nearness of our incarnate Lord. This, indeed, is cause for great joy.
Prayer: Stir up within us, O Lord, a spirit of great rejoicing and joy as we celebrate your incarnation this Advent and Christmas season. Amen.
Application: Have the trials and challenges of life threatened to steal your joy? Look afresh to Christ this week and be renewed in your joy and thankfulness.
Related Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Psalm 13:5; Joel 2:21; Luke 1:46-48
Post/Tweet this today: God draws near and enters into our brokenness to heal us and make us whole. #joy #WisdomHunters
Worship Resource: 3 minute video- Chris Tomlin/Laura Daigle: Noel
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© 2015 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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