About the author: Greg Rankin and his wife Dinah have been members at ZPC since 2009. They have a daughter in college and a son in high school. Greg is a Deacon, he is involved in planning for the ZPCMens ministry, and serves on the Str8up Ministry Team.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
Mystery | Isaiah 40:18, 21-25
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to live in;
who brings princes to naught,
and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
When I was maybe 5 years old, my wise and aware mother came out to our living room at what was probably 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning to find me poking and shaking every present under the tree. The mystery was killing me! Isn’t it interesting the way we seem to come pre-wired with a desire to solve the mysteries around us. Turn on your TV or look at a list of literary bestsellers. Mysteries abound.
In Isaiah 40:18 the prophet asks, “With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him?” For God is truly a mystery to which nothing compares. He came to us in the form of a man. A humble man offering us his grace, forgiveness, and redemption, if only we will accept these gifts. This God who “stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in,” and who “brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing,” is the same God who chose to die for each of us, so that we might be able to dwell with him for eternity.
In this season of Advent as we wait; as we anticipate; as we dwell on the mystery of our Savior; it is fascinating to see how we chase so many Christmas illusions when what we clearly desire is to see his face. Certainly the children all around, as well as the child in each of us, loves the mystery of that gift under the tree. But isn’t there so much more? The magic of the lights, the sparkle on the tree, the sounds of those favorite Christmas songs. The excitement and wonder that these things stir in us seem to be too great and to run too deep to be only about the cookies and gifts. Is it not truly the wonder of his coming on that sparkling starry night that fills our souls and imagination? Is it not the hope for tomorrow? For the “not yet,” that keeps us searching?
So search. Spend time being in awe and wonder. Be swept away by the mystery of our Lord and the miracle of his birth. And then let the light and sparkle of that wonder in your heart be seen by a searching world.
I thank you for coming as you did. As a man and as a father who wants a real relationship with each part of me. Thank you for your love and for your grace, and please help me to share those gifts with the people in my life. You are truly a mystery Lord, but I cherish that mystery and love you with all of my heart, and mind and soul.