Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desire of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
What strange and troubling times we live in. But these are not the first and surely will not be the last. David was a connoisseur of troubled times — mostly his own making. As we wait on the Lord this Advent, his Psalm 37 helps us to put our troubling times in perspective. At first glance, the text seems to promise that God will serve up all the goodies our hearts could desire, from bridge loans to new bicycles, from fiscal stability to flat screens. But God promises us far more than just the fruits of prosperity. He promises us a peace of heart and mind impervious to the crisis du jour. He promises salvation.
David’s words proclaim a profound truth. The closer we draw to God, the more our hearts’ desires come to reflect his desires. As we grow in this knowledge, as we are alert to what God wants from us and for us, our worries come down to size. In Psalm 37, David, no stranger to depression and despair, lays out a path to happiness: Trust in the Lord. Commit your way to the Lord. Wait on the Lord. And then you will delight in the Lord.
Delight — that is the key. God delights in us and we in him. Advent is not for sourpusses and hand-wringing. While we wait on the Lord, we rejoice in him.
Sure, Santa Claus is coming to town, along with Frosty and Rudolph, the Grinch and the rest of the gang. Maybe they’re a little shop-worn and marked-down to reflect a shaky retail season. But the big news is that Jesus will be born again in our house this year. It doesn’t get better than that.
So in the remaining days of Advent, let’s get ready for him. Start each day with a devotional moment to seek his will for us. Keep him with us through the day. Give him our worries. Ask his forgiveness. Shelter in his calm. Close our day knowing it is another one closer to him.
As our relationship deepens, what is dear to God’s heart becomes dearer to ours. Our prayers become less a litany of gimme, gimme, gimme, and become more a profoundly comforting Thy will be done.
These are surely strange and troubling times. But in the Advent of Christ, these are precious days to discover and draw closer to God’s plan for us. Let us delight in them.
The Reverend David Sellery, Author, Resource Creator and Retreat Leader. Committed to a vocation that focuses on encountering God in the midst of everyday life, I serve as an Episcopal priest who seeks to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in worship, pastoral care, education, stewardship, congregational development and community outreach, while continually engaging our wider culture with dynamism and hope.