Advent Reflection #9, 2016


Psalm 146:5-10
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!

How are you with potted plants? What about your yard or garden? Do you remember to water and tend them? Do your plants last long? Even now, are they withered and drying, desperate for water? Perhaps they need to be placed in a better location in order to get some sun? What about your Christmas tree – have you watered it? Like a dry and parched plant, the Psalmist describes the world in desperate need of its much-needed Creator, Savior, and Friend.

The Lord – your Lord – lifts up and upholds. To those in need the Lord is welcome and needed. God provides them with hope and, as a result, they are happy; they have joy! The Psalmist announces God’s goodness as that which all creation longs for and needs. At the same time, God’s justice – which is good and needed for most – is said to bring wicked on the ruin. The wicked do not benefit from God’s coming rule. Instead, they are to heed the prophecies as a herald of repentance and conversion.

In the same way that you [hopefully!] tend to your plants, the Lord – your Lord – tends to you. The Lord is good. The Lord will reign forever, and desires to welcome you into His household as a friend and even a child. What are you going through today? Do you need watering? Do you need more sun? Do you need to be lifted up and upheld? The Lord can and will do this. Advent is a time when we come face to face with our need, our brokenness, our longing for wholeness, deliverance, and peace. Advent is a time when we remember that God has answered our prayers, that God’s answer, Jesus the Son, is enough, and that Jesus will come again.

How has God answered your prayers this past year? How has God lifted you up? How has God upheld you? How have you experienced the much-needed care of God such as a plant in need of water and sun? Today in prayer, praise God. As the passage ends, “Praise the Lord!” Spend time today praising God for God’s many blessings. Even in struggle, loss, and sadness you are surrounded by God’s blessings. How can you praise and bless God’s name today? Do so, for the Lord has and will continue to lift you up and uphold you.

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