This News Strengthens Weak Hands Unsteady Legs and Racing Hearts

The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This News Strengthens Weak Hands

Unsteady Legs and Racing Hearts

Jesus, Son, Savior

As we experience the grace and mercy of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, may our hearts be calmed, and may we find ourselves strengthening others we encounter!

  The Kingdom of God is like.. Christmas Morning…

There was a rule in the house I grew up in, we were not allowed to have our feet touch the first floor of our house until 6:30 on Christmas morning.

Needless to say, by about 5:45, my sister Kelly, my brother Steve and I were crowded on the first step of the stairs, pointing out the presents under the tree, wondering which presents were for which of us.  Some of it was easy – if there were two boxes the same shape and size – one was Stephen’s, one was mine – my folks like to buy us the same thing. I think to see who would break the item the fastest?

At 6:31, my mom could be heard descending the stairs, a few moments more, my dad. That was the morning of instant coffee, for they were up late the night before, for we often didn’t get home from grampy’s until after 11.  Then they had to wrap presents, and get everything ready.

Exhausted when we woke them up, something always happened as they watched us rip open presents with the energy that only children can have.  They began to laugh and smile and enjoy themselves, despite their tired, cold, achy bones. A transformation occurred, as the tiredness somehow evaporated.  There is something about sharing joy that is transforming.

The coming of the Kingdom is like that!

The dramatic change of Isaiah’s desert and desert highlands is lost on most of us.  We can’t picture a place like Arizona suddenly looking like Yosemite, or the coastal redwoods of Santa Cruz.  We don’t see the area between here and Las Vegas all of a sudden looking like the Everglades.  The transformation is that incredible, as God comes among us.  Can we even begin to comprehend it?

We can understand the language found in verse three and four, about having the tired hands, and knees that just want to give out, and hearts that are so crushed, that they are racing because of stress and wear and tear they undergo.

We need this season of Advent to not just about to be about waiting – but to hear the news –that God is coming, that God is with us…. For then, as the King David says –

11  You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 12  that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)

This week, the third of our advent journey, that is what we find joy in, the news of how the tired, weary and anxious are more incredibly transformed than parents were on Christmas morning!

What causes our weaknesses?  What causes our hearts to race?

It was once said that a pastor’s sermon should afflict those comfortable in sin, by comfort those afflicted by it.  Those who spiritually are tired, worn out to the point of stumbling, those whose heart races.  In other words, a lot of us in this place – are not in need of me ranting about the condition of the world, or of the sins that cause consequences in our lives.

We’ve felt them often, enough so that I can joke about needing to invest in whatever corporation owns Kleenex.  It’s why this place is called a sanctuary, a refuge – and why Sunday is our day of hiding in Christ and finding rest.

We know those Isaiah says need to be strengthened and encouraged and to lift our hearts.  Sometimes, like John the Baptist in the Gospel, we are the ones who ask – are you really there Jesus, are you really listening to us God?  Not because we don’t know – but we need to remember.

We need to know we have a real God whom cares for real people with real problems.

We need to hear God’s message, as we struggle in what seems to be a desert wilderness.

Be calm, be strengthened by this… Immanuel!

That is what advent is all about – this time where we recognize our need for God’s presence, where we try to imagine what going through this life would be like in ancient days.

Not talking about the days with black and white televisions, brownie cameras, pong video games and rotary phones.  I am talking about the days before Christ’s being born of Mary, when they knew of God, but because of Jesus not coming yet, they couldn’t quite understand the promises of the Messiah spoke of a hope beyond belief.  The hope of a desert suddenly growing plants and trees like a rainforest, the promise of ground cracked and dry, not just having enough water to become muddy, but to become a tropical paradise.

Lives that seemed dry and useless, become lives that are alive, as we bring people to Christ like freeways bringing people to LA.

Though we know Christ, and though we are learning more and more about His love, we still tire out like John the Baptist. We still lose focus on what God is doing here, Advent reminds us – that what is coming when Christ returns is incredible, a wondrous transformation even more radical than what happens when we realize that He has saved us.

That there will be a day when what we know is true in our lives, will be seen in all of creation! When everything is redeemed, when Heaven and earth is recreated, when there is no more sorrow or sadness or tears.

When God display His glory, His splendor, when life begins anew.

Not later, the change is now, if you look at it

It is with such a vision that we can revive hands and legs, and calms anxious  hearts.  This is the reason we have been entrusted with this news!

Because the truth of such a vision is that, we don’t have to wait for the transformation to begin.  It already has, the glory of God revealed clearly in ways that go beyond speech.

The Son of God, choosing to enter into this world, to come and abide with us, to restore us to the image in which we are created. To reverse in us the effects caused by sin’s brokenness.

That same Man, hanging there on a tree, paying for the sin of the past year, the sin of all creation, Our being united there in His death, so that we could rise with Him.

This vision of Isaiah that strengthens us, our weary hands, our wobbling knees and calms our hearts, that even though He has died, all the forces of evil couldn’t keep Him dead… He rose and is at the Father’s side… working on our behalf, our of love for us.

Because He was transformed from death to life, so are we. Get that, it isn’t that we will be.  We have been.  We have been changed, and we are no longer lost in the desert – we have become that highway in the desert.

As we become the highway for others in the wilderness, the work Christ does in us brings the water of life to others, and brings them to comprehend this transformation, as the Holy Spirit brings life into their barrenness.

Just as He has into ours.  We may not get it completely; we may not see the fruit and vegetation yet, but we knows His presence, and the promises that have been made sure as He has cleansed us in baptism – as He increases our faith in our times with Him.  As we pray, as He nourishes us with His word, and the promises like these in it. As He invites us to lay our burdens down, and as He strengthens us with His Body and Blood.

That’s why we become the road for others, so that they can learn of the healing, the restoration, what it means to be saved and rescued.

For Christ has come, and it changes everything far more than a parent’s weariness fades as kids unwrap presents..

That is the peace that passes all comprehension, but which we know guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

AMEN!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on December 15, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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