12.22  Advent Devotional

The First Nowell

The first Nowell the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
born is the King of Israel.

Scripture - Isaiah 65:17-25

For I am about to create new heavens
    and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
    or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
    and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
    or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
    an infant that lives but a few days,
    or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
    and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
    they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
    or bear children for calamity;[a]
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
    and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
    while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
    the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
    but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.

Devotion - God's New Heavens & New Earth

I feel uplifted reading Isaiah 65:17-25. It describes God’s promise of the creation of “new heavens and a new earth.” This promise is particularly inspiring today in a time when the whole world is suffering through illness, the loss of loved ones, and the lopsided economic consequences of the pandemic. The scripture describes an idyllic world where God’s people live out long healthy lives and are untroubled by injustice or catastrophe.


My greatest joy at Christmas time is the sense of anticipation I feel. As a child, that feeling centered around material gifts, I admit.  At this stage of my life, I often feel that anticipation about what the future can bring, about positive changes that I, with God’s help, can work to bring about. This Advent and Christmas, I will concentrate on the vision of God’s new heavens and new earth from Isaiah, and will take comfort in His word.


Elizabeth Rankin

Christmas is Coming, performed by The Four Tenors, by Joel Raney

Food Donation Box.jpg
Many of us find that an intentional practice is important as part of our Advent reflections and you may want to consider this one. The Hunger Action Team suggests you set aside one food item or a small amount of money each day to stock the Food Pantry at North Raleigh Ministries. Click here for more information.