Monthly Archives: December 2017

Blessed are You, O Lord, who is come.

These words by Isaac Watts usher in the Christmas season with joy and a reminder the our Lord has indeed come.  Today as I pray for others, I am reminded there are many ways the Lord comes into our World each day.  I am thankful for the truth and grace God ushers into our lives in times of joy and sorrow.

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

With thankful heart, may we repeat the sounding joy of our Savior who has come and reigns.

 Blessed are You, O Lord, who is come.

Blessed are You, O Lord, who restores.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
~Psalm 51:10-12 (ESV)

The familiar words of Psalm 51 are a reminder that God creates, renews, casts near or far, restores and upholds. Even in the waiting of Advent God is active. Something happens in our hearts that often cannot be put into words until we celebrate the reality that we have not been cast away from the Lord’s presence. Just the opposite, God came to restore joy and salvation in our lives.

Simeon and Anna are my Advent superheroes. Each year I marvel at how they waited for the joyful revelation of God’s salvation.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
or my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  (Luke 2:25-38)

In my mind’s eye I see their joy, diminished by waiting, fully restored as soon as Simeon and Anna caught a glimpse of their newborn King.

In the remaining days of Advent with clean hearts and renewed spirits, may the Lord’s presence restore to us the joy of our salvation.

Blessed are You, O Lord, who restores.

Blessed are You, O Lord, who remembers.

Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as your portion for an inheritance.”
~Psalm 105:5-11 (ESV)

This time of year is full of wonder. Our culture invites us to remember the wonder of snow, mistletoe and Christmases long ago. But as followers of Christ, we remember the wondrous works God has done for us throughout the generations. We remember simply because God remembers us. In other words, God does not forget the promises made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Advent helps us to not forget that an everlasting covenant has been established with us as well through the Word God commanded.

So the Word became human and made his home among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
~John 1:14 (NLT)

God’s unfailing love and faithfulness is wonderful good news of great joy to all of God’s people.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
~Psalm 103:11-14 (ESV)

The greatest wonder this time of year is that our sins are removed by our Lord, the Son of Israel, who never fails to remember our need for a Savior.

Blessed are You, O Lord, who remembers.

Blessed are You, O Lord who prepares.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
~Psalm 147:7-8 (ESV)

Just as the Lord prepares rain for the earth, the four weeks of Advent prepare us for Christ’s present and future coming. But preparations take time. So in the waiting, we listen with thanksgiving as heaven and nature sing for us of God’s glory.

You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
~Psalm 23:5 (NLT)

Advent is our time to remember that the Lord shepherds us to a table prepared for us. It is table of feasting where we are never found wanting. At God’s invitation we are honored guests who receive all the goodness and mercy of our Lord’s birth.  And in response, we make heartfelt preparations to joyfully worship Christ the new born King.

To that end, may goodness and mercy follow us all the days of Advent as we dwell in the Lord’s preparations now and forever.

Blessed are You, O Lord who prepares.