The scripture reading for today falls within a section (chapters 30-31) that foretells the beautiful vision of the restoration that God plans for the exiled people of Israel. Jeremiah announces that God will restore the land of Judah and Israel from captivity amidst shouts of joy. The prophet goes on to say that people from all walks of life—people who can't see, people who can't walk, women with children, and those in labor—will be liberated from every tyrant and will return home.

Our God is a God of dependable love and care. God will never fail to keep promises or fail to fulfill the divine plans. Just as God promised to save and comfort Judah and Israel’s exiles from their oppressors, God has the same kindness for us and can guide us in our own difficult trials. With God, we will not stumble even though our paths may be rough. The God who was the Father to Israel is also our Father. Just like Ephraim, we are God's sons and daughters.

God has good plans for our well-being—strategies to protect and prosper us. When we repent, worship, pray, and praise God—when we search for and seek our Creator with all our hearts—God will hear us, redeem us, and grant us a glorious future with hope. The plans and promises of God never fail. This is our everlasting joy!

For all the pain and bruises we experience as a people, Lord, reconstruct, purify, and grant us the capacity to experience your leading and full restoration. Amen.

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Lectionary Week
December 27–31, 2021
Scripture Overview

The readings for this week are full of praise for God’s gift of Jesus Christ and an emphasis on human helplessness apart from God. Jeremiah portrays an exiled people’s despair turning to joy at their restoration. The psalmist proclaims God’s power to protect and provide for God’s people, and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians explains that God’s will from the beginning has been for our adoption as God’s children through Christ. Praise and thanksgiving to God are the common and appropriate responses to all these mighty acts of God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 31:7-14. How have you been restored by God’s kindness?
Read Psalm 147:12-20. In what ways have you experienced God strengthening and restoring you?
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. How do you set your hope on Christ? How do you live differently because of that hope?

Respond by posting a prayer.