“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.”
When singing Christmas carols like Away in a Manger — “Little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay // The baby awakes… no crying he makes” — it’s easy to forget that the Christmas story was actually a total train wreck. The scandal of unexpected teen pregnancy, the screaming of a woman in labor, the crying baby in a grimy animal food trough. That night was far from silent.
And yet, God brought salvation to all mankind from that dirty manger. Consistent with His character, God does the same for us: our challenges, which so often feel like unredeemable train wrecks, are opportunities for God to work redemption for our good and His glory.
This is the promise of Christmas, and is our greatest comfort: God brings redemption out of seeming disaster. He finds us in our troubles and heals our heartache. This is the comfort of HOPE: the light comes into the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it. Even when life feels like a train wreck, we take comfort in the redemption worked out of that dirty manger and noisy night.
On a scale from train wreck to redemption, I’m not sure what your life feels like right now. But whether you’re experiencing heartache or gladness (or a little bit of both), I pray that this Advent devotional, Comfort My People, will provide you with a glimpse of the comfort that only God can provide.
Beginning tomorrow, November 28, faculty and staff from Hope College will guide us on a devotional journey to Christmas Day. Every day of Advent, you will find a new meditation on a scripture passage adapted from the Revised Common Lectionary.
If you haven’t already subscribed to receive daily emails, please sign up here. Or, you can follow along online at hope.edu/advent. And please, share this with your friends and anyone else who might be interested in joining us.
Thank you for joining Hope College for Advent!
Matthew Scogin is the president of Hope College.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.