Dec 15 – Prepare for Joy

What is your desert bloom?

Hot dry air sucked moisture from me almost as fast as I could drink water when we hiked in Arches National Park. Instead of trees, rock formations grew from the stones of the dry river bed that served as a trail. Yet in a shadow in a curve of the river bank flowers grew and blossomed.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.

Isaiah 35:1-2 (NRSV)
desert flowers

Frequently life offers us hot dry desert too difficult for any living thing to merely survive, yet when even hope seems impossible, joy bursts through.

Following a long series of prophecies that describe in gory detail the rage of the LORD against the enemies of Zion and followed by an attack on Zion by an overwhelming army Isaiah’s 35th chapter surprises readers in the midst of death and misery.

Advent wreath with 2 purple candles and a pink candle lit

Advent, the four weeks of preparation for Christmas, begins with prophecy of hope to a nation captive to an invading Roman army, then proclaims peace to a world that no longer hears the Word of God, and on the fourth Sunday with love to dare to bring forth a child who will change everything. Each of these weeks is marked with a solemn purple candle in our Advent wreath. But on this third week we will light a pink candle reminding us of the joy that breaks forth in the desert times of life.

I will have more to say about Isaiah 35 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 15th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

A Tip for Parents

I remember waiting for Christmas morning. Before going to bed my parents had told my siblings and I that we could not go downstairs until the alarm clock rang. I remember waking early and watching the clock slowly click one minute after the next.

Waiting for God to act can feel the same way. You know something special is just around the corner. You don’t know what nor even when, but it will be spectacular.