A Prayer about the Most Holy Paradox of Advent
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isa. 61:1-3
Dear Lord Jesus, meditating on this portion of Scripture deeply encourages my heart; it also underscores the holy paradox and of the weakness of your birth and the magnitude of your calling. Who could’ve ever imagined that a baby, whose birthing room was a stable, would be the means by which God will ultimately stabilize and transform everything awry in the universe?
Who had any way of knowing that the child who nursed from a very young mother’s breast was actually the Ancient of Days—the one who brings the nourishment of salvation, redemption, and restoration to God’s pan-national people and much-beloved creation?
Who could have realized that, as you lay helplessly in the manger, the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord dwelt within you—the Spirit by which, one Day all oppression will be stopped, all chains will be broken, all injustice will give way to justice, tiny acorns of unrighteousness will become mighty oaks of righteousness, mourning will be replaced with gladness…
broken hearts will become healed hearts, despairing hearts will become praising hearts, and the disfavored will become the favored of the Lord? Who possibly could’ve seen, known, and believed such a thing?
We praise you, Lord Jesus, for displaying your splendor most clearly in the ultimate reversal of the gospel of grace. You, who created the world sustain all things by the power of your word—you entrusted yourself to a lowly manger and the agony of the cross, for our salvation and the restoration of all things. Oh, come let us adore you, indeed!
May your splendor be more fully revealed in us and through us, until the Day you return to finish making all things new. As your beloved Bride, free us to love your mercy, advocate for your justice, and walk humbly with you, our God. So very Amen we pray, in your most glorious and loving name.