Each year, members of the Exodus Church communications team write a series of readings for each Sunday during the Advent season. These short devotionals are read during the Sunday morning service and serve to turn our hearts toward the coming miracle of Christ’s advent on earth as the Son of Man.
This year, our readings are themed around the verses of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. These verses so eloquently address the beauty of Christ coming into the world to bring us peace amidst the strife and heavy burdens of our lives. This year has been a difficult one for many with deep grief and frustrations and division, but the angels are still singing the song of peace if we only come to a place of quiet and stillness so we can hear it.
Here is our first reading from Sunday’s service.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the time of year when we celebrate the coming of our great King as a tiny baby in a humble stable.
Each year, I look forward to this time of year with excitement and a little bit of apprehension. Our calendars are packed full from Thanksgiving through January with Christmas parties and family trips and traditions that are good, but they keep us so incredibly busy. Every year I vow to build in more rest, more quiet, more time to consider the gift of our Savior, but somehow the days fill up in spite of my intentions.
But this year? Well, it’s 2020.
The pandemic came and our calendars and planners were wiped clean when our whole world shut down and our homes became our whole world. God suddenly and decisively silenced the storms of distraction and activity. Psalm 107 reads, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.” When quarantine started, we were disoriented and we mourned the loss of the noise and work we were used to. But God didn’t intend for us to live in a constant storm of activity. In Mark 6, it reads, “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’”
What if 2020 was one big invitation to find a desolate place and rest?
As we come into this season of Advent and Christmas carols, there’s one that seems to have new meaning this year. “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is one most of us have heard our whole lives and we can sing the words without thought.
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
This year, may we embrace this time of quiet and let our world lay in solemn stillness to better hear the message of peace and goodwill from our King that still brings hope today.