December 9, 2009

Dec. 9: Joy returns

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By Lynn Jackson, vice president for enrollment management
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 12:2-6 (NRSV) Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
Isaiah 12 has been called the Thanksgiving hymn. It is a surrendering to the Messiah and enjoys the benefits of that surrender.

In this section of Isaiah, the people of Israel are coming out of a time when God was angry with them for their arrogance and lack of trust in him. What God demonstrates and the people discover is that even through the anger, God still loves them and wants to comfort them. Once that love and caring is rediscovered, we read in Isaiah 12, great joy is exclaimed.

The story in Isaiah has often played out for me to see in my own life. Even though I am many years past childhood, I still wonder, how many times growing up did I anger my parents, the very people that wanted to love and comfort me? At the time of their anger, my world seemed out of balance and bleak. As the anger dissipated and I again felt their love and comfort, my life again regained its balance. Joy returned as I realized the depth of their love.

The same can be said for my relationship with the Lord. When I don’t trust, act arrogant, rely on myself and forget to give thanks, then the Lord reminds me of this and my life feels out of balance. Once I remember that the Lord wants to love and comfort me, then I feel that joy.

At the time of Isaiah, the Lord Jesus was being prophesied. The people of Israel very clearly felt the wrath and anger of God. I am living in a different time, one where I still know that God can become angry at his children, but a time when the Messiah that was prophesied in Isaiah has come and is my peace. How blessed am I that I can live in this peace.
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SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 12:2-6 (NRSV)

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 on 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.

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Comments (4)

  1. Thanks, Lynn, for your meaningful reflection. Very well put.

    Richard Aguirre December 9, 2009 |
  2. I am enjoying the Advent devotions. Keep on proclaiming the “Good News” of Jesus Christ in a way that will remind people how great He is.

    Lowell Clark December 9, 2009 |
  3. This causes me to reflect on my role as loving principal in disciplinary actions with my students. They know I care for them. I am encouraged to recognize that I can be disappointed and irritated with their behavior as a part of that love and that they can experience the happiness of a smile and a high five when things are resolved.

    Penny Naugle December 9, 2009 |
  4. Thanks, Lynn. I am especially struck by the idea of the balance in life that comes when I know (and remember) the total, encompassing love of God for me. I can identify with that sense of balance that brings joy. I want to live out of that place. Thanks for highlighting this Advent truth.

    Janice Sutter December 11, 2009 |