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.

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The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 35:1-7

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I have a flower bed in my front yard that has been looking kind of sad lately. I couldn’t think what I was doing that would make the plants wilt as they have…until I decided to water them. Turns out all they needed was a little more water and the results were immediate and radical. The leaves perked up, the flower buds turned their faces outward, the plants began to look healthy again.

This is the kind of imagery the prophet uses when he prophesies about a coming day in which everything that was once dry and dead will be revived with nourishing water and new life. Even in the midst of this week’s tragedy full of grief, agony, and despair, we know a better day is coming. The hope of Advent is knowing that as we wait for the coming Christ, God is with us.

God is coming, like refreshing water in a dry and parched land, to bring us peace. God is coming, like refreshing water in a dry and parched land, to bring us hope. God is coming, like refreshing water in a dry and parched land, to bring us joy.

Amy Butler

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O God, I believe you are present in the midst of all that we experience. Refresh me today. Help me to find my peace in you, to rest firmly in your hope and to look expectantly for your joy. Amen.

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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

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

David Burroughs

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