Advent

Third Sunday in Advent: Highways

Third Sunday in Advent: Highways
Mother and son praying at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem

Isaiah 35:1-10

As we prepare for and anticipate Christmas, one step many of us will focus on is traveling highways (and airways) to get to loved ones to share in this special holiday—together! Traveling or not, Christmas, like no other Christian year celebration, brings people together with joy and gladness. It is magical!

Today’s scripture reading invites us to journey with exiles on a highway home to Zion, the place where they are restored to God as promised. There promises to be singing and rejoicing, and no more sorrow and sighing. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? Imagine people who for hundreds of years have been exiled, scattered and dispersed over many lands and nations, and now these words of redemption and ransom are echoing in their hearing. I agree with many bible scholars, this text is poetic and a message of hope.

As United Methodist Women we historically have been a pathway (highway) for women to become whole persons in Jesus Christ by growing in faith, knowledge, leadership, service and action—serving in mission with God to transform the world. We are a mission of hope. This advent, Isaiah 35:1-10 invites us to be a highway bridging the glory of God from the past, to today, and the age yet to come. Through God’s power, all things are transformed, our ordinary lives and the realities of the world. This was the foretelling of one who is coming, to redeem all and upset the status quo—Jesus.

Today, I invite you to meditate on how you can be a connector for someone who needs hope, to find Zion, God’s promises, in their lives. Maybe they are weak, feeble, fearful of heart, living with physical limits or dealing with the realities of life’s sorrows and sighs. I am convinced that by being light for others this advent, you too will experience light, redemption through Jesus.

Prayer:
God of light and love, here we are, thankful for all the ways that you have allowed us to experience your glory and love. Guide us to anyone that needs to know that Jesus’ birth is real and changed everything. We have ears to listen and a story to tell of the highway that welcomes all into the glory of you. Amen!

Sally Vonner is Assistant General Secretary, United Methodist Women national office.

Posted or updated: 12/11/2016 11:00:00 PM

Advent Candles

Give Thanks. Give Now.

Mission Focus:

North America Region: World Student Christian Organization: Supporting a student Christian movement national leadership training program.

Testimony for Dec. 11-17:

Each teen residing in the Near Northside neighborhood need to hear words of hope, love, and affirmation; mentors remind these youth who are often considered “the least of us” that they are, indeed, precious in God’s sight and created in Christ’s image. -Wesley Community Center, Houston, Texas.
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