Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Once In Royal David's City"1 (Lyrics)
Years ago, a friend from a small group Bible study showed me this verse:
Zephaniah 3:17 – For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (NLT)
The phrase "take delight in you with gladness" haunted me. I wondered over and over how the Lord God takes delight in me with gladness. Recently, a face-to-face conversation with a neighbour showed me how He might do that.
I was surprised to see her with a nine-week-old puppy: tiny, wriggling, big-eyed, cute, and wrapped in her arms with a fleece baby blanket. She enthused in great detail over her new "baby" as she let me hold him for a minute. She commented that even the necessary middle-of-the-night trips outside were a joy.
Confronted unexpectedly with the positive gush of the caregiver-baby bond, I asked the Holy Spirit, Is this what you want me to remember in future when I ponder "He will take delight in you with gladness"?
Going into Advent this year, as a mother, I can only imagine the love that Mary had for her newborn baby, Jesus. And as great as mother-love is, it is miniscule in comparison to how my God, Lord, and Saviour cherishes me and you! That idea challenges me to sift through the disappointing memories of my life and re-evaluate what I thought that God was doing while things were painful, sharp, cold, hard, and tough. It is amazing to me now, when I recall those events, I feel His embrace and the warm fuzzy blanket that He provided then and continues to provide now.
This year during Advent, as we think about the love that God showered upon the human race in Baby Jesus, let us consider how God cherishes each one of us. If you are uncertain of His cherishing, ask Him for a demonstration. Revelations of His love are life-changing gifts.
Prayer: Father in heaven, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, we ask for ever-increasing wisdom and understanding in our knowledge of You and how You love us. Help us to realize and remember how You cherish each one of us through Jesus. Help us to show others Your kind of cherishing. Amen.