Untriumphantly: A New Beginning

This second week of Advent is the week of Peace!

You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice in your presence
as if rejoicing at harvest time,
the way men rejoice
when dividing up the spoil.
For the yoke that weighed them down,
the bar across their shoulders,
and their driver’s goad
you have broken as on the day of Midyan[’s defeat].
For all the boots of soldiers marching
and every cloak rolled in blood
is destined for burning,
fuel for the fire.

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us;
dominion will rest on his shoulders,
and he will be given the name
Pele-Yo‘etz El Gibbor
Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom
[Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God,
Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace],
in order to extend the dominion
and perpetuate the peace
of the throne and kingdom of David,
to secure it and sustain it
through justice and righteousness
henceforth and forever.
The zeal of Adonai-Tzva’ot
will accomplish this.

Adonai sent a word to Ya‘akov,
and it has fallen on Isra’el.

Isaiah 9:2-7 (CJB)

            Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year. I know I’ve already mentioned this fact, but it bears repeating. This dark season of waiting is how we begin the year. I know everyone around us is just counting down the days to the end of this year. But as the Church, we stand and say, “This is the new beginning.” It might seem odd to begin a new year with waiting, but we often begin things with a season of waiting. When we’re getting married, we typically preface that with a season of engagement—the time of waiting to be married. When we’re having a baby, we must first be pregnant for what seems like both the longest and the shortest nine months on the planet. We begin by waiting. When beginning a new job, there is the interview process, which then turns into the days before we begin our new path—a time of waiting. When we begin college, we first apply and decide which college we’ll choose, and there is also a time of waiting before that first class begins. Waiting is a common way for things to begin. 

            Waiting in the dark of December often doesn’t feel like a new beginning. For me, August feels like the beginning of a new year. Those sharp new pencils just scream “new beginning” for me. Dead trees, long nights, sometimes cold temperatures—none of those things says “new” to me. But this is how it is. 

            A seed begins by sleeping. It is just a seed as it waits. It waits to be buried, fall apart completely, and sprout up something new and green. But that seed—that’s the beginning. By the time we see that little plant above the ground, so much work has already been done. 

            In Isaiah, we find this expectant waiting. He knows the Redeemer is coming. He knows God always fulfills His promises. He waits. Something is happening. Something is coming. This waiting is part of the beginning. The Child born so long ago for us—that is the beginning. These days waiting to the second coming—this is also the beginning. Jesus is making something new—not just for Israel, but for me now. Jesus is making me new. As I wait in the darkness, as I fall apart completely, something is growing—something new.

Today’s song: We Three Kings (We Are Not Lost) by Rend Collective

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