Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

December 15, 2016 / By: Jill Nennmann

 “My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken.”

Advent is a time of waiting for the Lord, even as our faith celebrates His dying and rising.  The scriptures for today teach us that while we anticipate the coming birth of our Lord, our lives may still be a struggle. – a constant battle between hope and fear, comfort and loneliness, calm and stress. 

For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back.

Throughout the Isaiah reading for today (Isaiah 54:1-10), there are examples of the struggle of our lives and of our faith.  These conflicts and frustrations reflect the reality of our own lives.  We face great disappointments, and at times may struggle to find our faith and comfort in God.  The retail stores, advertising, television and streaming, and it seems everyone around us, are all full of the joy of Christmas but our own hearts feel barren.  God’s love is promised to be constant and unshaken, but it is a challenge to see beyond the stress of finals, the shifting of life that comes with the end of every semester, the looming holidays with family dynamics that may have changed. 

You changed my mourning into dancing; O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Some may actually be mourning a loss in their lives, through death, distance or change in relationship; this is especially difficult during this time of year when the secular world celebrates such happiness and joy.  But, the Psalms bring us back to the ways that God can rescue us even from the depths of mourning, loneliness, fear, depression, isolation, the pit of despair. 

Our Advent anticipation is for the promises that God has given us.  We seek His comfort and closeness; we hope that He can renew us with rejoicing after our weeping; we trust that he will change our mourning into dancing.  And, for that we truly give thanks.

Dr. Jill Nennman, Assistant Director for Liturgy and Music, Office for Campus Ministry