We wait for the Lord Thursday, December 16, 2021
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Christmas is a very special season in Bethlehem. The attention our city receives and the scores of pilgrims who visit the town, bring an annual breeze of fresh air. There is a festive atmosphere in the city, and this is especially evident in street marches and processions. This is why the impact of Covid-19 on our city is very severe. Covid-19 has impacted our tourism and economy, but it’s also affected us as a community and a society. Our sense of isolation behind the wall was emphasized.
Yet, Advent is a season of hope! Psalm 40 anchors our hope in the Lord; not in political realities, not in worldly leaders, or in change of our circumstance. It reminds us that our hope is in the Lord, and this is a hope that exists despite the circumstances, not because the circumstances changed or will change. Granted, we hope and pray for a breakthrough in our situation. We pray and hope for the end of the military occupation to our land. We pray and hope for the wall of separation to fall down. We pray and hope to an end to all forms of extremism and all exclusive ideologies and theologies. And we certainly pray and hope to the end of the pandemic. Our hope, in return, compels us to work these things we hope for; it is therefore an active hope. And as we hope and work, we wait for the Lord. “He put a new song in my mouth” – a song that celebrates what is to come, not what we see now; but what we see in hope! It is a new song in the midst of the pit, a song of hope that “Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord”.
Lord, give us this advent season to put our hope in you, and in what you are about to do in our world and lives. And as we wait and hope, give us a new song of praise. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac
Pastor, Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem
This devotional is a joint project between Christmas Lutheran (Bethlehem) and St. John’s (Salisbury, NC).