Advent Devotionals - November 29th

November 29, 2022

The Gradual
“For all they that look for thee: shall not be ashamed, O Lord. Make known to me thy ways, O Lord: and teach me thy paths.”

The first part of the Gradual comes from Psalm 34:5. It tells of the affect God has on those who have come to know him.  The English Standard Version gives us the following translation, “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”  When I read this, I am reminded of Exodus 34.  This passage recounts the meeting between Moses and God.  We are told that as Moses ascended the mountain, his face was shining.  This was in spite that earlier Moses, having brought the Law to the people, witnessed their sin and rebellion.  Moses had been in the presence of God and in spite of what was happening around him, the peace and presence of the LORD shone on his face.

In our Gospel reading Sunday, Jesus spoke of birth pains.  Let’s face it, life is not always easy.  Jesus never promised it would be.  But for those who have put their faith and trust in Christ, we have assurance of peace during trials.  As long as we abide in His presence.
The second portion of the Gradual is from Psalm 35:4. The Psalmist makes two requests, “Make known to me thy ways,” and “Teach me thy paths.”

As we learn to commune with God, Jesus called this abiding, God begins to reveal his ways to us.  Most often God’s ways are not our ways and wrapping our finite minds around God’s ways can be difficult at best.  However, within this struggle is an inexpressible joy.  A joy that radiates from the Father and touches every area of our lives.  Even during our darkest hours of life.

Moses’ experience was a “Mt. Top” experience, and while it is not necessary for us to get into our cars and drive to the nearest hill side to talk with God, might I suggest finding a quiet place whether in the morning or in the evening, where you can get alone with God and His word.  I strongly suggest using the Daily Office as your guide.

My habit has become going into my office, at home, getting out the Daily Office, and beginning my day in prayer.  This is certainly not a brag.  It has taken me quite some time and effort to develop this discipline.  I find, however; that this time allows me to focus on my day with God at the center.  It completely changes my attitude and while tough times still occur, I find that God gives me the resources to handle those tough times with grace.  Most of the time that is.

“Most of the time?” you ask.  While we await the coming of our King, we are in a process of growth.  Jesus called these “birth pains.”  We will have successes and we will have failures.  However, if we abide in the presence of Jesus and remain on the path, we will find that our success will outweigh our failures.  And when we do fail, God gives us his grace to return to the path and to find once again “the radiance.”  The radiance we get by being in the presence of God.  The one in whom we have our very being and in whom we will never be ashamed.

Dcn. Ron Christolear
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