Advent Devotions

Saturday, December 18

Surely 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.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And 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.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 12:2-6

I remember one of the first real fights that my spouse and I ever had. I was moving into a new apartment, and she was over to help build some Ikea furniture. While I was carefully laying out all the pieces according to their corresponding letter—As go here, Bs go here, Cs go here, and so forth—Joann had already connected the Q piece to the R piece simply because it looked like it would fit. Where it should have taken us an hour to put this bookshelf together, it ended up taking us—taking me—close to four hours, partially because she was fed up with my meticulous methods, but mostly because I was going back and undoing all that she had done even though most, if not all of it, was right.

Throughout our relationship, we’ve since come to recognize that I’m the planner, spending a lot of my energy on anticipating outcomes, calculating risks, developing plans and strategies. Joann, on the other hand, lives in the present, maximizing joy and love and happiness moment after moment.

For a while, we thought this would be a lifelong source of conflict, dueling identities that could not coexist. Yet, as we have grown in our relationship, we have recognized that our natural tendencies, though they compete, actually complement each other well. We are better at seeing who should lead in a given moment and affirming each other’s strengths.

There’s something about the duality of the now and the not-yet.

We see this from the prophet Isaiah who names that God is salvation now, today, while still looking toward that day when water will be drawn from the wells of salvation. I’d like to think that we, too, can claim the embodiment of hope, peace, joy, and love through the Christ Child on Christmas Day, while still seeing the brokenness around us, praying for the day when hope, peace, joy, and love will be fulfilled.

Closing Practice

Allow yourself to live into the duality of the now and the not-yet, and see how God is inviting you to declare God’s work in the world now and in the days to come.

Copyright 2021 Abingdon Press • Used by permission.