Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Advent Devotional December 4, 2013

The Rev. Sarah Ott '10, Pastor of First United Presbyterian Church of DuBois, Pa.

Scripture

Psalm 147:1-11

1   Praise the Lord!
          How good it is to sing praises to our God;
          for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2   The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
          he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted,
          and binds up their wounds.
4   He determines the number of the stars;
          he gives to all of them their names.
5   Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
          his understanding is beyond measure.
6   The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
          he casts the wicked to the ground.

7   Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
          make melody to our God on the lyre.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds,
          prepares rain for the earth,
          makes grass grow on the hills.
9   He gives to the animals their food,
          and to the young ravens when they cry.
10  His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
          nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11  but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
          in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Devotional

Advent calls us to prepare for the arrival of our Savior Jesus Christ, yet often times our preparation is filled with the stress of planning. We wake up on a wintry day in December to face a to-do list of shopping, cooking, wrapping, and working so that we can enjoy the birth of God's son. 

Admittedly, our preparation has the wrong focus and the wrong feeling. Psalm 147 encourages us to pause in the midst of our preparation and consider the question, "Who am I preparing for?" Are we preparing for Jesus Christ or for the world's expectations of Christmas? 

I hope today we choose to prepare for Jesus! When we do, our preparations are less about doing and more about being. We begin to prepare with praise to God for God's provisions and care for His children. We wake up each day with less attention on what needs done during Advent and more attention on what's been done through God's power.

Prayer

Holy God, today we offer our praises for all that you have done, will do, and continue to do. Help us to prepare for the things that matter and ignore the demands of this Advent season that pull us away from you. We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.