Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” – Isaiah 61:1

In Advent, my prayers often turn toward remembrance. I will spend time looking back over the year and all that God has faithfully led me and my family through. What does your year look like in review? Do you see “The Spirit of the Lord God” upon you? Now if I shared with you the truth of my life, I would have to confess that I do not always see it. In fact, over the past year, I see something very different. I see people hurt, relationships battered, marriages severed, and lives ended. It is often bleak and cold, like many of our long Midwest winters. It leaves me in the ash heap of sorrow for my sins which bring about hurt and batter my relationships. It leaves me mourning over the deep cuts of selfishness that have slashed at my marriage, repeatedly, seeking to sever it.

Yet Isaiah tells not of how God’s Spirit is upon me (though indeed it is), but he tells of the Anointed One who would come to restore hope in the midst of a bleak winter of sin. He speaks of the Messiah who would come to proclaim the Lord’s favor, release the prisoners, announce freedom for captives, and bind up the brokenhearted! He tells of Jesus Christ who changes everything – even our recollections of hurt and sin – into an anointing through His Word with hope. This restores our gladness so that we sing His praises all the more.

Throughout Advent we see the hope that is ours in this Anointed one – this Messiah, this Jesus – who makes us stand amid the trials of this world as “oaks of righteousness.” This righteousness is not from our actions but from the one whom God has sent to reveal His favor! This why we can joyfully remember His presence yesterday, today, and forever. This is why we know we have the hope of salvation, because “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.”

Prayer: Yet nights will bring their sadness and rob our hearts of peace, and sin in all its madness Around us may increase. But now one Star is beaming Whose rays have pierced the night: God comes for our redeeming From sin’s oppressive might. (The Night Will Soon Be Ending, LSB 337:4).

This devotion was written by Reverend Steve Henderson, pastor at Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA.

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