On those rare occasions when I would get into trouble as a child, my mother would inevitably preface her punishment with the cliché, “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” I never bought that line – I didn’t see her going to her room, being deprived of her favorite items, or telling her friends she couldn’t come out to play. As a parent now, I understand my mother’s sentiment all too well. When my 5-year-old son Phinneas is more of a bother than a brother to his younger siblings and makes a poor decision that affects others, I have to punish him. Boy oh boy, does it hurt. He will never know that I dread handing out the punishment more than he dreads receiving it, but true love requires correction. While enduring the punishment, Phinneas says underneath his breath how mean of a mom I am and those 15 seconds of punishment and pain feel like a lifetime for us both. When it is over we go back to our prior activities but when the next event happens he inevitably remembers the last time he was punished and his tears start flying. This year I kept track, and he has only been punished two times thus far. He is blessed with gifts frequently, and shown love daily, yet he holds onto the memories of the bad.
Isaiah is a reminder how we keep accurate and detailed records of God’s wrath or people’s missteps, but really don’t take time to record moments of peace, prosperity, happiness and relief. The first 34 chapters of Isaiah contain a recurring theme of God’s wrath. Finally in Chapter 35, Isaiah reveals God’s mercy, his forgiveness, his justice, and his promises. So let’s focus on how loving God is, how well balanced his wrath is with his mercy, and most importantly, God’s promise. Someone once told me that promises are only as good as the credibility of the person making them. As we celebrate this advent season and look forward to the coming of Christ, let us find balance. Just as there is balance in God’s wrath, mercy, and promise, give us balance in hearing all perspectives, give us balance in conflict and peace, give us balance in our work and family lives, and give us balance in our giving and our receiving. Lord let us be diligent recorders, not only of your wrath but also your favor. Thank you for loving me and correcting me. Mom, thank you for loving and correcting me. Phinneas, you will just have to thank me later!
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Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus – an arrival or a coming. In the context of the season, Advent means that the Lord is coming. Read more of the Advent introduction...
First Week of Advent
Second Week of Advent
Third Week of Advent
Fourth Week of Advent