Thursday, December 08, 2016

Our Deepest Desires

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. (Isaiah 48:17)

Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.  (Psalm 1:1-2)

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation?  It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”  (Matthew 11:16-19a)

Jesus, in the darkness of these Advent nights, let me be guided by the light of your word.  Give me the humility to be led by you and the wisdom to learn from you.  I feel your light in my life and in the world.  I am grateful for the Savior who awaits us, and eagerly await the time of rejoicing.  Let me look forward in hope and turn to you with great trust, knowing you will guide my steps along the unknown path of this day.[i]

What is your deepest desire?  What is it that your heart longs for?  Do you even know the answer to these questions?

Jesus says the people of his time have no clue what or whom they seek.  Like children with too many diversions, nothing seems to satisfy them.  God sends John the Baptist into their midst to prepare them for the coming of their Savior.  How do they react?  They condemn him.  He wears odd clothes and has a strange diet.  He’s too out there for their liking, so they decide he must be demon possessed.

Jesus himself comes along, in some ways the polar opposite of his cousin John.  Jesus is a people person.  He enjoys a good party.  He seeks out the despised and forgotten, the very people no one else wants to be seen with.  What do his contemporaries say about him?  His family declares him out of his mind.  Others reject him for the company he keeps – tax collectors and other sinners.  Still, others are sure that all the partying he does makes him deserving of the labels glutton and drunkard.

What is your deepest desire?  For whom does your heart long this Advent?  Do you even know?

Maybe we seldom stop to think about those questions.  Perhaps we are totally distracted by the many diversions at hand – our iPhones, tablets, and iPods, as well as our frenetically busy schedules – but God, on the other hand, knows without question what God’s deepest desire is.  We cannot even begin to fathom the depth of the love with which we were created.  And it is God’s greatest desire that we love our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer in return.  Along with that is the desire that you and I trust God and follow the way our Lord shows us.

In the holy darkness of these Advent nights, find a quiet spot where you can pray and reflect in silence.  Look deep within.  Our deepest desires are often precisely what God wants for us, the longings that bring us closer to God.

As you make your way through the last two weeks of Advent, share your heartfelt longings with Jesus, confident that God will “lead you on the way you should go.

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