Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on December 11, 2014.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to dream and to live in hope in you as we think of all the possibilities in our lives. Like Joseph, help us to see more clearly the plan you have for our lives. Amen.
Reading: Psalm 126 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: This text seems out of place for Advent to me. Granted, it is reminding us to go forth with shouts of joy, and the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany seasons are all about that. I was reminded of that recently when I read another devotional writing about the hymn, “Good Christian Men Rejoice.”
The first verse of this passage struck me. It says, “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.” That reminded me of some weird dreams I’ve had lately. It seems it has been old home week in my dreams. I dreamed that we had a “redo” of my high school graduation, nearly 25 years later; that we were trying to persuade a high school classmate to move back to the state to run for political office; and I ran into an old friend in another dream, who was visiting from England, and we ran into a bear.
When we dream, both in our sleep and when we are awake, the possibilities are endless. And the hope of those possibilities is a perfect message for Advent. When the angel came to Joseph, he was presented with new possibilities, which changed his life (and ours) forever.
So, dream away! As we close out another year and look forward to the next, the world is your oyster. And God will have a hand in those possibilities. --Chad Hershberger
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