Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Wednesday, December 14th
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
O Lord our God, under the shadow of your wings, let us hope today. You support us, both when little, and even to gray hairs. When our strength is from you, it is strength, but when our own, it is feebleness. We return from our weariness to you, O Lord, that our spirits may rise toward you, leaning on the things which you ave created, and passing on to yourself, who has wonderfully made them. With you we find refreshment and true strength. Amen.
(May be sung to the tune of Jesus Shall Reign)
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and hearken for he brings
Glad tidings of the King of kings.
Then cleansed be all hearts from sin;
Make straight the way for God within,
And let each heart prepare a home
Where such a mighty guest may come.
For you are our salvation, Lord,
Our refuge, and our great reward:
Without your grace we waste away,
Like flowers that whither and decay.
To heal the sick stretch our your hand,
And bid the fallen sinner stand;
Shine forth, and let your light restore
Earth’s own true loveliness once more.
To God the son all glory be
Whose advent set your people free;
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Spirit evermore.
GROW: Psalm 146:5-10
Our scripture is a text of praise. Psalm 146 is just like all of the other psalms in its section begin and end with a Hallelujah, a praise the Lord. Yet, this psalm is distinctive in two important ways. First, it is the most individualistic of the five psalms, which form this section of the psalter. Unlike the individualism that pervades our day, where the goal is to get our salvation, get things for us, this psalm calls for the reader to turn to introspective consideration of their commitments to God’s commands. Second, Psalm 146 is unique, because it lists the reasons for the readers praise—the faithfulness of God to the poor and oppressed among us.
So, the praise on the lips of the psalmist is to be repeated by those who read, sing and hear this beautiful expression of gratitude. For all that God might be celebrated, the psalmist insists here he is a doer of justice; a giver of bread, a liberator of prisoners; an opener of blind eyes, a raiser of fallen ones; a lover of the righteous; a watcher of homeless ones; and the champion of the widow and the orphan. In other words the voiceless of the earth will find strength and support in their King.
It is very popular today for us to imagine we are all alone in our journey with Christ. We are tempted to believe that we are picked on, criticized, and at times we imagine we are without recourse. Yet, the psalmist reminds us God has our situation well in hand. Not oneperson is beyond he reach and healing and protection. Indeed, praise the Lord!
Today, consider all of the ways God has been faithful to protect and strengthen you. As you consider God’s rich faithfulness to you, consider sponsoring a child for Christmas through Angel Tree somewhere in the city, or sponsor a child at Overland Park Elementary School in conjunction with our church. Children’s Director, Karla Christy, would be the perfect person to speak to about this important ministry.
—Pastor Phil Hamner