11.30 Advent Devotional
Prepare the Way, O Zion
He brings God’s rule, O Zion;
he comes from heaven above.
His rule is peace and freedom,
and justice, truth, and love.
Lift high your praise resounding,
for grace and joy abounding.
O blest is Christ who came
in God’s most holy name.
Scripture - Psalm 139:7-12
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Devotion - "Where Can I Go From Your Spirit"
We human beings sometimes want to flee from the sight and presence of others. It’s normal to want a little privacy. We may just need just some “Me” time, a short, quiet break from questions or demands, even from family and friends. We may need relief from the prying gaze of the outside world: tracking our movements, our opinions, our activities.
The desire for privacy can lead to glorious moments of escape: rising at dawn to drive to the mountains or catch a flight beyond the sea! But in time of fear or shame, privacy can contribute to a downward spiral. I must admit that there have been dark times when I’ve felt poorly about myself or my life choices, and have wanted to hide from the world, and even wanted to evade the gaze of God.
Psalm 139 is a beautiful reflection on God the ever-present Parent. It tells us we cannot escape God’s gaze, and that is an incredibly good thing. God promises to be nearby, not merely to judge us or discipline us, but to give us comfort and guidance.
These verses have often been used as a prayer for travelers. During this Advent season, think of the weary travelers Mary and Joseph, seeking protection and seclusion from the real forces that were seeking to harm them and defeat God’s purposes. Think also of the wise men seeking the birthplace of Jesus, a lowly manger far off the beaten path. God shielded all of them from their enemies and guided them safely to their destination. These words hold inspiration to travelers as well as those waiting for a miracle to arrive.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen performed by The Hudson Handbell Ringers and composed by Cynthia Dobrinski