Scripture: Isaiah 9: 6-7
Years ago, I sang in Handel’s Messiah. Well, full disclosure, it was a Sing-a-long Messiah – BUT – I of absolutely no musical ability – I sang in it! Well, full disclosure, I really could not sing much of the choral parts – they were way beyond me. BUT – and its a big BUT - I stood with all the others and sang the Hallelujah Chorus! And I sang boldly and loudly, half-crying as I sang, that I – even me - could be a part of something so special – something so eternal.
Today as we start Advent, I listened to Part One of the Messiah and it was the story that really came alive to me.
First, there was the promise that God was coming as a King: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Is 40:3)
But then, with this Coming would come purification and judgment: “But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth?” (Malachi 3:2)
And then, suddenly, the Promise is seen as a coming baby: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
And lest there be no mistake about this King-Baby: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11) “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11:28-29)
A total upending of expectations: upside down, inside-out and backwards.
And this Advent, as I look toward the coming of Jesus, I want it all: the King who rules my heart; the Purifier who will refine my soul; the Baby who I can so easily love; and the Shepherd who will lead and feed me. ”What
I yearn for this Advent is the fullness of Christ’s coming - in me and in the world.
I want to share with you a song that, even though it is not a typical Advent song, takes me through much of the same journey as the Scriptures in the Messiah, as I prepare for the coming of Jesus, as I prepare to approach Him. It is “Howl, My Soul” by the Medical Mission Sisters. (Listen to it on YouTube.)
“Howl, you, for the Day of the Lord is near.
Howl, my soul, for the Day of the Lord is here.
Let ev’ry knee be bent and ev’ry head be bowed,
For He will come like thunder tearing up the cloud.
Howl, my soul, tremble my soul in fear.
Weep, you, for He comes to judge the land.
Weep, my soul, for none but the just shall stand.
He will come in a whirlwind to uproot the trees.
Yet He will rock my soul as the gentle breeze.
Weep, my soul, for judgment is at hand.
Sing, you, for the Lord was born of men.
Sing, my soul, for the Lord returns again.
He will breath new spirit into old dry bones,
Trade a heart of flesh for a heart of stone.
Sing, my soul, sing my soul: Amen.
Peace, you, there’s no need to be afraid.
Peace, my soul, for He knows of what you’re made.
Though mountains crumble when He bares His breast,
In the crook of His arm I will lie to rest.
Peace, my soul, it is the moment for which you’ve prayed.”
Lord, help me open my heart fully to your coming, to your transforming power in every corner of my life. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
-- Lyn Fitz