It’s the First Sunday of Advent! Advent focuses on the anticipation and expectation of Jesus’ birth. It’s about preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of the Christ child.
Advent is the season of longing, waiting for our hope and promise!
Join me here each day as I share a bit of scripture, hymn lyrics, a few thoughts, a suggestion for prayer. It’s my hope that these words will deepen your love for the Savior!
Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,Psalm 80:1-3
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
come and save us.
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
Shepherd imagery can be traced all throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. As Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons in Genesis 48:15, he testifies, “the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day.” Then John writes in Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ Of course, Jesus is both our sacrificial lamb and our shepherd … he is our “everything!”
The Psalmist calls out to our Shepherd for salvation and restoration. He uses language that echoes the priestly benediction from Numbers 6:
“‘“The Lord bless you and keep you;Numbers 6:24-26
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
Break, day of God, O break! The night has lingered long.Henry Burton, 1900
Our hearts with sighing wake; we weep for sin and wrong:
O bright and morning star, draw near; O Sun of Righteousness, appear.
Break, day of God, O break! The earth with strife is worn;
the hills with thunder shake, hearts of the people mourn:
break, day of God, sweet day of peace, and bid the shout of warriors cease.
Break, day of God, O break, like to the days above!
Let purity awake, and faith, and hope, and love.
But lo! We see the brightening sky; the golden morn is drawing nigh.
As you pray today, thank God for being your Shepherd. Read quietly Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing – he refreshes my soul.” Thank Him for drawing near, for restoration and salvation. Pray specifically about something for which you are waiting – ask God to help you wait with hopeful anticipation of His answer. Ask Him to enlighten your mind and heart as you wait for His arrival as the babe in the manger.