Advent Day Twenty: The Coming of the Spirit

“I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. . . I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . .” (Joel 2: 25, 28))

As a high spirited child I often found myself in trouble with teachers who had a difficult time getting me to sit quietly in my seat and do the work.  While I was never rebellious, I dreaded parent interviews when my mother would inevitably come home crying.  I would vow to do better, but I had a reputation that was difficult to shake as I moved from one grade to the next.  Then we moved to a new city.  Noone knew my reputation.  I was more mature and self-disciplined.  Suddenly my high energy was seen in a positive light and I was able to soar.

It’s not easy to get through life without any regrets.  We would like to erase poor choices or flagrant hurts we have inflicted on ourselves or others.  Some people spend a lifetime under the heavy load of guilt, never able to move on.

Israel lived under a cloud of judgement.  Natural disasters and threats of invasion were prophesied as “the Day of the Lord”.  It was something to be feared.  But the prophet saw beyond the immediate, far into the future when the Day of the Lord would come down like a refining fire on the people of God.

Joel’s prophesy was repeated in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on devout Jews waiting in Jerusalem fifty days after Jesus’s resurrection.  It was God’s divine fire that erased the sins of the past and anointed believers with power and forgiveness.  What a burden was lifted!  The days of shame and alienation were ended.  They were reborn into a living hope.   

Jesus transformed the “Day of LORD” from judgement to anointing; from shame to exultation. He came to settle the account between God and humanity.  Across our lives is written:  “Debt paid in full.”

“LORD, we hold on to regrets that we can never erase.  You came to set us from that curse and to give us power to live.  We confess our sins and seek your forgiveness and grace.  Pour out your Spirit in our hearts.  Thank you for your transformative love.”  Amen.

Mindi Oaten’s painting “Pours Out His Spirit” is from God’s Garden of Grace collection.

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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