Following the Star
As we journey through Advent, we would be wise to remember that it is in fact a journey – not just for the Biblical cast, but for us as well.
Prepare yourselves today to listen for the word and guidance of God as we, too, follow the star closer to the heart of God.
The Lord God’s spirit is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release for captives, and liberation for prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, planted by the Lord to glorify himself. They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore formerly deserted places; they will renew ruined cities, places deserted in generations past.
The Israelites knew what it was like for their community to be ruined, to be exiles in a distant land, leaving their homeland deserted. Isaiah’s words bring comfort to the community, and remind them of their purpose as people with God’s spirit upon them.
Sometimes we are far from home or feel distant and cut off from everything that makes us who we are, and we wonder just what to do. Isaiah reminds us that God’s spirit is upon us no matter where we are, and that still gives us purpose. Our purpose is to bring good news to people we encounter along the journey. We are sent to speak to the poor, brokenhearted, captives, prisoners, and to those who mourn. When we feel covered by ashes, we are also given a crown to replace them.
Because our mourning has been replaced with joy, we can point others to the Good News that God wants to do the same for them.
Most Holy God, you guide my steps even when I feel alone and covered in ashes. You give me a crown to remind me of your provision. Provide me a space to proclaim your good news to others, as I am anointed. Amen.
Look today for the stars in your life, providing guidance along the journey towards the heart of God – your mission in this world.
And go, following bravely and joyfully, wherever the star may lead you as you make Christ’s presence in the world known.