Creative Arts Advent Devotional: Week 1, Day 1

Monday, December 4, 2017: 

Isaiah 9: 6a For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.

One of my favorite recurring themes of our story of faith is how God chooses the day’s most “unlikely” candidates to do His work. Jesse was so sure that Samuel wouldn’t anoint his son David as King that he hadn’t even called him in from working with the sheep (1 Samuel: 16). Ruth proposed to Boaz and claimed her place in Jesus’s genealogy in spite of her being a woman and an immigrant (Ruth 4). Peter was trusted to feed Christ’s sheep and became the leader of His church, in spite of his triple denial on the night Jesus died (John 21:17.) It seems every chapter I read, I think, “There God goes again, turning the world upside down.” I don’t know about you, but I like the way God works.

As the prophet Isaiah foretold, Jesus, our Emmanuel—which means God with us—came as a baby. Not as a mighty warrior riding in on horseback, not as a whirling natural disaster sent to destroy the Earth, not as an angel descending from on high. He came to live and breathe alongside and through us “unlikely” candidates. That’s very good news.

Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for sending your son Jesus to be born a child for us. Thank you for the ways you use and trust us to do your work in this world, in spite of our shortcomings, failures, and weaknesses. Help us to “look with the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7) instead of our eyes, like you do. Help us to have faith in ourselves and our brothers and sisters, and to trust in your guidance and goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Creative Action Item: Find a picture of yourself as a child. Study the image for at least 5 minutes. Take some time to free write in a journal about what you see anew upon looking at this photo. Do you see any similarities to your “grown-up” self? What emotions does this image bring up for you?  Consider the ways in which God has used you to do His important work in the world since that photo was taken.

 —Merideth Hite Estevez

My brother Mack and his daughter Macy, moments after she was born. (Photo: Sandi Hall McClain)

My brother Mack and his daughter Macy, moments after she was born. (Photo: Sandi Hall McClain)