Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. (Luke 1:57-58)
Hatred. Judgment. Racism. Greed. Self-justification. Self-righteousness. If you've been following the news recently, you've seen all of these.
And it gets old, doesn't it? Eventually I just have to shut it off, close my eyes, and pray. My mind feels soiled with all of the evil I've witnessed. I've done my duty as a citizen and a Christian and a human being—I've prayed and written letters and made donations and volunteered to help—and now I'm just done. Because nobody (but God) can take that barrage of evil, day in and day out.
So what is the cure for that? Elizabeth's neighbors got it right. They "heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her." They set aside whatever negatives were preoccupying them at the moment. They saw a good, pure, lovely gift of God—a baby! And born to parents who had waited so long! And they rejoiced.
Paul recommended that to us, too. He writes, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8). Thinking about the good things God has given is a kind of mouthwash for the brain. It is healing.
And what fools we would be if we did not focus on the best Gift that God has given us, the purest, most lovely, most excellent Gift—which is Jesus Christ Himself! There are days in our lives when we just can't think of anything good to focus on. But there is always Jesus. There is always the Savior and Lord who came to us in our great need, who rescued us with His own life-giving death, and who rose from the dead, sharing that victory with us.
Think of His excellence and goodness—whoever saw such kindness? And to people who don't deserve it! Think of His truth and honor—there is nobody like Him, who will never let us down. Think of His pure loveliness—a God so courteous, so willing to humble Himself, that He makes Himself one with His hurting creation and raises us back to Himself. Think on Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to find peace and refreshment in You. Amen.
* Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the evil in the world? When?
* What do you do when you feel that way?
* What one aspect of Jesus' personality do you love the most, and why?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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