Advent Devotional December 16: Photographs of Living

And he said,“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb… For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:14, 16-17

By Kristah Woolley

Old photographs have fascinated me since I was a child. A photo captures reality one moment at a time. No one in that picture knew what was coming in the next moment, or a year away, or 100 years away. If you pretend hard enough, the edges of the photo disappear, and you can imagine the little movements of a living being continue on into seamless existence after the shutter snaps.

There is a photo of my grandmother that I saw for the first time shortly before she passed away in April. She’s eleven or twelve, has pigtail braids and a shy little smile, but I was captivated by her steady, certain, brown gaze. I stare back at the photo, thinking she was right to be assured because of God’s intense, ever-present, guiding hand. He knew her just as completely when that photo was taken as he did on her wedding day, the birthdays of her three sons, the day she was diagnosed with crippling rheumatoid arthritis, and her very last day.

During the Advent season, we remember Israel’s hope for the coming of the Messiah to atone for the sin of the world. We also remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus to finally restore the new heaven and Earth in eternal light and glory. Our God knows all that is past, present, and yet to come. When you see an old photograph, let it remind you of God’s omniscient, intimate presence in each moment, and His love.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Shepherd. We trust that you will always guide us to the safety of green pastures, even when we experience pain and loss. It is so good to rest in the assurance of your love. Amen.

Kristah Woolley is a member of the Nearly and Newlywed Sunday School Class. She and her husband, Nick, have attended South Main for five years.

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