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Merry Christmas!  We hope your preparation for this holiday is progressing smoothly.  Our sermon series for this season is Finding Home for Christmas and the sermon this week is Directions.  It is easy to forget the days before GPS when directions were based on landmarks.  Usually, the person giving the directions to the individual who was lost would ask, “Do you remember where old Jim’s Store (or tree, rock, house) used to be?”  If they did remember Jim’s Store then that would be the starting point for all the directions that would follow! Today we do not need to ask for directions (at least not very often) because we have a voice that tells us which direction to turn and how long it will take us to get there.  In a society where we have so much direction, why does it seem that we are so lost?  We may be able to find Jim’s Store, but we cannot find a sense of peace, joy, love, or contentment!  This is why we are seeking to find our true spiritual home that can only be found by following the map in God’s Word. This week we turn to Isaiah 35:1-10.  In this vision God is reassuring his people that he will guide them back home and he will do it with hope, joy, and celebration.  They were living in threat, darkness, and fear, but they were not forsaken.  God encourages his people with a powerful vision of restoration and redemption!  These words are God’s flashing sign for all believers that the glory and splendor of God’s power would be seen by all people, and it would come to a stable in Bethlehem!  It is our earnest prayer that you will sense God’s power and direction for your life, and it will strengthen you in every way as you read Isaiah 35:1-10:


The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.  (NIV)