This post is part of an ongoing series of family advent devotions. You can receive a free printable download of the entire series in PDF format when you subscribe! Just enter your email into the box in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page.
This week’s Advent liturgy can be completed at any time during the week. Optional: purchase a Christmas cactus to remind you of the beauty and life that springs from the desert in the presence of Christ. They are usually easily found in bloom in most floral departments.
Sing or listen to “O Gladsome Light”
Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-6
Have you ever noticed how much “barren desert” imagery there is in the Bible? I hadn’t really thought about it much before studying and preparing for this Advent series. Nearly all of the prophets of the Bible spent some, if not all, of their ministry years in the barren, deserted places.
What is it about these places that make us feel our need for God? Why was it that the prophets went out to the “wastelands” when they wanted to hear from Him? Perhaps in the absence of all the necessities of life - food, water, shelter - we realize our complete inability to survive without Him, both physically and spiritually.
Now compare the photo above to this photo of the area around the Sea of Galilee.
The presence of life-giving water creates a fertile oasis in the midst of a dry, dusty desert. I have never been to Israel, but I have heard that the Sea of Galilee is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Bible is filled with contrast between desert and oasis, barrenness and life, wasteland and fertile ground. And it is more than just a geographical description of the land that Jesus “happened” to be born into. I believe God chose that land as the backdrop to unfold His story for a reason; that the sharply contrasting landscape would be one of the many ways He chose to reveal His grace and power through the coming of His Son, the Life-giver, our Living Water.
Light the third Advent candle
Lord, we confess that without Your Son, Jesus Christ, our souls are a dry and barren wilderness. Help us to recognize our need and taste of Your Living Water in abundance. May our souls “blossom like the crocus” as we live in You daily, that we may “blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.” Amen.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.