Advent Devotional Week 2: “Yearning”

Isaiah 11:1-10

“He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth…The wolf shall live with the lamb…the cow and the bear shall graze, their young will lie down together…They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain…On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples.” (Various verses, editing mine)

One word sums it up for me: “Yearning.”

I yearn for the world to be a little less violent, filled with a little less hatred. I yearn for that world to take time to sit down with one another in peace. I yearn for people to actually sit down and be honest with each other, even if that means weathering some conflict along the way. I yearn for things to be a little less cynical, a little less critical, a little less apathetic and indifferent. I yearn for things to be a bit more hopeful, to see possibility where things seem impossible.

I wonder, if the future that Isaiah prophesies to God’s people – the promise of God’s vision of the future – isn’t something worth yearning for. It’s a vision of the future I find comfort and hope in – a future that’s not mine, but God’s. One that God alone will usher in.

However, there is one thing with yearning. Yearning without action sounds to me like “whining” and “passing the buck.” Yearning that doesn’t lead to us participating in what God is bringing about in this world is dead faith. True yearning, that kind that touches our heart and soul, is the kind that compels us to act…but to act in a way that submits to God’s will and vision of the future.

And again, that perhaps leads us to the place where in our yearning for peace, hope, and justice, God has a song for us to sing and play – action borne out of our yearning. Action that witnesses to God’s deliverance from our deepest yearnings and cries. “Mary don’t you weep….prepare and wait….God’s gonna come, and God’s gonna do something, just like he did in ages past for his people.”

Mary don’t you weep no more.

Perhaps not your “traditional” Advent hymn, but a spiritual borne out of a time when God’s people were yearning for freedom – freedom from pain, freedom from exhaustion, freedom from abuse, freedom from the bonds of slavery. Yearning that eventually led to freedom (and continues to work towards it on other levels today).

“O Mary Don’t You Weep No More.”

May God hear your deepest yearnings this Advent season….and may you find peace and hope that God will come, that those yearnings will be heard.

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