Advent is a season of the Christian Year that helps us prepare for Christmas. During the four Sundays before Christmas we focus on the Scriptures that teach us about the "coming" or advent of the Messiah. 

The Rose That Blooms in the Desert

"The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing..." Isaiah 35:1-2

n 1970 one of the most romantic movies ever made was released: "Love Story," starring Ryan O'Neal, Ali McGraw. It is the story of the love between a young man and woman that is able to confront cancer and death. One of the most memorable lines in the movie is "Love means never having to say you're sorry." 

One of the songs that plays in the movie is "Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming." This beautiful Christmas hymn was written by an anonymous author in Germany in the sixteenth century. It is based on Isaiah 35:1-2. That passage foretells of a time when Zion will be renewed by the Messiah. The chapter goes on to describe the Messiah, and Jesus Himself told John the Baptist how He was fulfilling it (Luke 7:18-23)

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." That sentence takes on its fullest meaning when it is considered in light of Isaiah's prophecies and Jesus' fulfillment. The overwhelming reality of God's love for us is forgiveness. It is important for us to ask for forgiveness, but even before we ask, it has already been given. God is not moved to forgiveness because we ask Him. He is moved to forgiveness for the sake of Jesus, who came at Christmas to give new life to Zion and to all through His own perfect love and the forgiveness of our sins.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, You are the rose that blossoms in the deserts of our lives. In You we have forgiveness and salvation. Amen.

Pastor Michael P. Walther, 2015