Advent Word of the Day - Provide

My family has experienced profound loss and sadness this year and the heartbreak is more intense now that we are in the Christmas season. We know the good news. We know of the love that God provides. We know about the hope, joy, and peace that can be found through Christ, but the feelings of despair still linger in the corners.

Once again the word for the day is inspired by Isaiah 61. In it Isaiah gives a vivid and beautiful message of hope for the grieving and emphasizes God’s commitment to provide for God’s people.
 “To comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD
    for the display of his splendor.”

This Sunday our church, like many others, will have a “Blue Christmas” service. It is a worship service designed for those who are experiencing loneliness or loss. It could be the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or just a feeling of emptiness. The service is an opportunity to pause in this festive season and acknowledge that there is profound sorrow that exists at the same time as great joy and it is fine not to “feel” up to all that Advent and Christmas bring.

The service also serves as a reminder that God is here. In the midst of our suffering God is here. God not only sympathizes with our pain but actively works to replace our sadness with His “comfort, beauty, joy, praise and splendor.”

It’s ok to feel what we feel. It’s ok to feel sad when we think we should be happy and it’s ok to feel happy when we think we should feel sad. Our emotions are often inconvenient, but we can count on a God who knows, a God who cares, a God who sees, a God who loves, and God who provides.

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