Joy is elusive. Just when we think we have found it, joy can be snatched from us in a single moment. Despair threatens to take its place and we find ourselves searching again for meaning.
In times like these, it is as important as ever to seek the quiet, to wait with anticipation that joy will return. These next moments hold the promise of just such a time.
When you are ready, click on “The Word of God” below for today's scripture and then continue to follow the remaining steps of the devotion.next >
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:2-7next >
This week we can feel the fear and sorrow of the people who lived in a land of great darkness. We are a people burdened and oppressed by violence and evil all around us. We struggle to understand why and how such darkness persists in our world.
Yet we are also people who have seen the light. Sometimes it’s just a little pinprick of light, way off on the horizon, but we have seen it; we know it’s there. We have seen it in small acts of kindness. We have seen it in prayers of comfort. We have seen it in the eyes of our children. The people—all of us—who have walked in darkness have seen a little light.
Do you remember what it looks like? Today we watch for its coming to illumine our darkness and to usher in the Prince of Peace.
Amy Butlernext >
Give me courage, O Holy One, to keep my eyes trained on the little bit of light I can see, and prepare my heart for the coming of the Prince of Peace. Amennext >
Move quietly now through your day.
Joy, peace and hope remain.
Seek out the company of friends,
Remind yourself that God is near,
And allow small moments of joy to return
For the healing of your heart.
Amy Butler has served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. since 2003. In her free time Amy loves to travel, read, garden, and write. She often comments on faith and life in general on her blog, Talk With the Preacher. You can also read her columns every two weeks on Associated Baptist Press. Amy lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
Wexford Carol - O Come Little Children