Christmas 2020 is now behind us. Happily, my Advent readings continue beyond the actual day of Christmas (anyone looking for a great Advent and Easter series--see Biola University's online devotional project: http://ccca.biola.edu/events/2020/nov/29/2020-advent-project-online-devotional-series/).
Inspired to read Messianic Old Testament passages to kick off the new year, I opened Isaiah 1....and found myself breathless. This is us! This is now! I began reading the chapter out loud, slowing down where my teenage self had helpfully highlighted sections of particular relevance to my then-mind (good choices, teenage Stephanie!).
As we wrap up 2020, many of us are trying to discern some meaning in what happened this year. I had a lovely conversation with my father and husband on what messages God may be sending us. Well...it wouldn't be the first time God used world events to try to wake people up spiritually. While I believe God is there with us in our suffering and pain, and that is yet another message to glean from this disaster of a year, Christians across many traditions over the centuries have held that God uses the pain of this world like an instrument to draw out greater spiritual depth within us.
As a musician, I'd like to think of the instrument not as a scalpel but as the musical sort. Perhaps 2020 was a lament, a forgotten yet important genre within the Jewish and Christian traditions. Let's try to make sense out of the notes and see what God may be calling us back to...or forward toward.