Advent 1: Midweek Devotional

December 2nd

Bible Portion: Isaiah 40:9-11: You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Focus: Isaiah 40:11: He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Reflect: My friends, Ruth and David Adams, run a large family farm. Situated in the County of Suffolk, it nestles snugly in a cozy nook of southern England. Twelve-hundred arable acres, passed down by an earlier Adams generation, stretch out toward gentle, water-coloured horizons. This is the rich landscape captured in paintings by John Constable (1776-1837) who breathed this Suffolk air. Small hedges, dirt roads, and infrequent trees criss-cross those low flatlands. Their dusty beauty breathes tranquil peace.

One lambing season, Farmer David asked if we might help him. Stepping out of the farmhouse, he soon returned with a lamb. My wife, Mary, sat next to her blind sister, Jo, on a wicker love seat. David talked low and slow, “Jo, I’ll put this lamb into your lap. I need you to hug it close.” He handed Mary a rough strip of wood. “This lamb was born with a club foot. If we don’t straighten it, the lamb will never walk.”

David showed Mary how to accurately place the wood gently against the lamb’s lower leg. The stick protruded just beyond the hoof. David bent the hoof gently forward, unlocking it to form its normal shape. Using strips of linen, Mary bound the wood securely. It formed a simple splint. “Why does it protrude beyond the hoof?” she asked. “At first,” David said “the lamb will walk as if on stilts. In the time it takes for the wood to wear down on the gravel, the hoof will strengthen. The lamb will then be able to walk on it with support. After some days, we’ll remove the splint—then the hoof will be straight enough to take its weight. Then the lamb will be healed.”

This farmer’s gentle, healing personal care reflects the Advent promise: He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. God will do that for each of us …if only we will let him.

Consider:  
How has our Shepherd-King healed you so you can stand firmly in your faith? As you place your fragile future into the Shepherd’s strong but gentle hands, how will you choose to trust God more this Advent?

Pray:
Almighty and Everlasting God, Lord of Light, shine your love into the darkest recesses of my soul today. Lord Jesus, illuminate my life with your fresh forgiveness. Holy Spirit, shine your new beginnings into my lived experience in this season. Teach me how to wait in hushed anticipation of your coming, Lord. With faith and hope, I listen for your still, small voice again. I rest in you. Revive me with your love. The inn found no place for you. Overcrowding distractions still tug my heart from you. In this Advent season, cause me also to sing, “Come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.” Amen.

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