December 13, 2015 • Life for Leaders
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing”
Today is the third Saturday in Advent, a season of preparation for celebrating the birth of the Savior. The main mood of Advent is one of serious hope. It’s a time more of quiet longing than loud celebration. But many Christians let the third Sunday of Advent be a time of joy. Even as we remember how the Jews waited for the coming of the Messiah, and even as we wait for his second coming, we remember and wait with joy because we know how the story ends. Christ was born! Christ is coming again! There will be a time when God will wipe away every tear, when the lion will lie down with the lamb, when implements of war will be turned into tools for harvesting. Thus we rejoice even as we wait with hope.
The prophet Zephaniah brought a word of hope to Israel. The day would come when God would live among his people. He would be their savior and delight in them. The Lord himself would rejoice over his people with joyful songs. What a great vision of the future! Wouldn’t you love to see God singing with joy over his people . . . over you?!
As you celebrate Advent today, allow yourself to reflect on the vision of Zephaniah. Consider what it would be like to hear God rejoicing over you with loud singing. Think of what it would be like to live in the light of this vision.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you think of God as taking delight in you with gladness? Why or why not?
What would it be like to hear God sing a joyful song over you? How might it transform your life?
What are you yearning for in this season of Advent?
Dear Lord, sometimes it is hard to wait for you. Waiting can be serious stuff, especially when we are in the midst of loss, or pain, or confusion. We yearn for you to heal us, to restore our relationships, and to finish your good work in us. Moreover, we ache for you to mend this broken world. Our hearts desire the new creation, when children will no longer die from hunger, when people will no longer kill each other, when oppression will be shattered by your justice, when all people groups will be reconciled in your love.
Yet even in our aching for your new work yet to come, we wait with joy. Our hope will be fulfilled because our hope is in you. The new creation is coming. Christ will return to reign. Your kingdom will one day be fully here. And in that day, you will rejoice over us, and we will get to experience it. What a wonder that will be!
So, dear Lord, in this serious season of Advent, we pause to rejoice in you, because you are our God, our King, our Savior, the Lover of our Souls. Amen.
My e-book, Discovering Advent: How to Experience the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime, available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
An earlier version of this devotion appeared at The High Calling. It is used with permission under a Creative Commons license.
Image Credit: “Nativity tree2011” by Jeff Weese – Flickr: Nativity. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.