Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advent Devotional #11

Today's devotion from Goshen College:


By Bill Born, vice president for student life

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.


"I don’t think I can celebrate Advent if this is God's
idea of being loving and just." These were the words of my
brother just five days ago as he looked ahead to the Advent
season in the midst of personal pain. His spouse, his best
friend and our mother are all experiencing extreme physical
and cognitive failure due to disease, stroke and dementia.
He's carrying some heavy burdens. I listened with little to
say in response.

As I shared this conversation with another peer he noted
that sometimes all we can say is, "Then let me celebrate for

Both conversations have been with me each day since.

Isaiah 61:1-4 notes a personal call to action following
the long-awaited anticipation of restoration and peace. In
response to the Lord’s personal anointing, our purpose is
defined as servants to those who are poor, oppressed,
brokenhearted and to those who are captives, and are
mourning and in despair.

During this Advent season, is there someone for whom you
can personally say, "Let me celebrate Advent for you?" Is
there someone you can reach out to who is poor, oppressed,
brokenhearted, who is captive or in mourning and despair. Is
there someone you can speak with and say, "I can’t fully
understand, but I am present."

In any given "here and now," Isaiah 61:8 promises the
Lord's justice and his faithfulness to restore. His covenant
is everlasting and in time, we will experience salvation and

During this Advent season, in this imperfect world, we are
called to be God’s means of hope for those who are suffering
most and in this way we "testify to the light."


SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 (NRSV)
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord
has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to
bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of
vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion -- to give them a
garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of
praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of
the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up
the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of
many generations.

For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and
I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will
make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and
their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people
whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall
exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he
has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a
bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to
spring up before all the nations.

View all of this season's devotions at

Goshen College

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