Advent Week Three: “Exchanging Sorrow for Joy”

Weekly Supply List:

  • Journal or sketch pad
  • Pen, pencil, or markers
  • Clear plastic cup
  • Soil
  • Seeds or Dried Beans
  • Blindfold

Weekly Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10 (Good News Translation)

1 The desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands. 2 The desert will sing and shout for joy; it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon. Everyone will see the Lord’s splendor, see his greatness and power. 3 Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. 4 Tell everyone who is discouraged, “Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.” 5 The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. 6 The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. Streams of water will flow through the desert; 7 the burning sand will become a lake, and dry land will be filled with springs. Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow. 8 There will be a highway there, called “The Road of Holiness.” No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. 9 No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the Lord has rescued will travel home by that road. 10 They will reach Jerusalem with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief.

Invitation: If you keep a journal or sketch pad, grab that, so you can write or draw about your experience with today’s devotional. Read Reread Isaiah 35:3-6a out loud.

Reflection: Which of these experiences do you experience?

Contemplation: How can you reach out to God when you are in those moments? How do you think God will respond? Record your thoughts in your journal.

Discussion: Discuss the contrasts in this passage. For example, the lame will leap and dance.

Prayer Exchange: Father God, when I am tired and weak, help me to remember that You promised to help me to be strong. When I am discouraged or afraid, You come to my rescue. Help me to bring our sorrow to you and exchange it for joy. Amen.


Contributed by Craig Johnson, Spiritual Director