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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 5, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 60:1–6

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord. (NRSV)

What does it mean to live a life characterized by hope and joy? I’ve found myself wondering that a lot in the midst of these twelve days of Christmas—not wanting to let go of the afterglow of several days of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations but recognizing the opportunity to embrace new patterns of living and being in the year ahead. Because of that, I am grateful for these words from Isaiah today.

Filled with renewed hope as families began to return home after fifty years in exile, Isaiah boldly proclaims God’s future in these verses: “Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn,” he writes. “Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather, they come to you.” There is an obvious connection that we (and Matthew!) draw between these verses and the visit of the magi, but, at their core, these are verses about being restored, refreshed, and renewed. And perhaps because it feels like our lives are so starved for it, I am particularly taken with the way the NIV translates Isaiah 60:5—“Your hearts will swell for joy.”

We, like the magi, aren’t meant to stay gathered around the manger forever. Instead, we are called to carry the hope and joy that Christ brought into world out with us wherever we go. So may our hearts indeed swell for joy with the good news Christ brought into this world, and may our lives proclaim that message of hope, joy, and love to a world that so desperately needs it.

Holy God, we are deeply grateful for the hope, joy, and love that you have brought into our lives through Jesus’ birth. Fill us once more with a renewed sense of joy, that our lives might proclaim your good news. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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