Following the Star
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. / Cast out our sin and enter in. Be born in us today! / We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell. / O come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel.
from “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks (1868)
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be cleared. Then the lame will leap like the deer, and the tongue of the speechless will sing. Waters will spring up in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. The burning sand will become a pool, and the thirsty ground, fountains of water. The jackals’ habitat, a pasture; grass will become reeds and rushes. A highway will be there. It will be called The Holy Way. The unclean won’t travel on it, but it will be for those walking on that way. Even fools won’t get lost on it; no lion will be there, and no predator will go up on it. None of these will be there; only the redeemed will walk on it. The Lord’s ransomed ones will return and enter Zion with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads. Happiness and joy will overwhelm them; grief and groaning will flee away.
With the swelling roll of timpani, resounding gush of organ pipes, and crash of cymbals, many on Christmas will burst forth in reply: “O Come, All Ye Faithful!” Can’t you feel the chills trickle up your spine? Surely this is the embodiment of joy. Our scripture for today reminds us of and beckons us towards that rush.
The gush of water through the desert that Isaiah describes is paired with a gush of people, traveling to Zion. God, the source of joy, carves the raging course, creating a highway. Nature follows and is transformed. Are we faithful enough to let God bubble forth?
The joy of Christmas awaits us. We, then, must wholeheartedly seek to float the charge of the swirling Spirit’s movement. Our active participation in the renewed river of life invites us to experience soon, but not quite yet, the full joy of our Savior’s birth. Will you dive in?
With my best effort and my longing to feel your joy again, God, I submerge myself in the movement of your Spirit. Flow forward in my heart and mind until I am drenched by your joy this Christmas season. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Jesus is coming.
Our Savior is nigh.
Yearn for that gift,
and welcome its light.