Eleven days until Christmas! Are you ready?
I will have to admit our outside lights are not up. This is a sad and rare occasion not to have them up with at least three weeks to enjoy before Christmas. Experience is telling. Advent, the four weeks before Christmas Day, is more relaxed, pleasurable, and fuller when preparations to celebrate Christmas are made in advance. I still would enjoy Christmas without gifts bought, lights up, cards sent, etc., but not as much and not as deeply. There are just so many things to do and a finite amount of time. Prioritizing and preparation enhance Christmas pleasure.
Deadlines, pressure, being overcommitted, lack of time, stress, and lack of sleep often lead to rudeness in the things we say or do. To physically push someone from behind or tell the object of your wrath to shove it may show resolve to resist injustice. More often, however, it simply is a lack of self-control that will lead to regret. It can escalate a bad situation.
Instead of saying “shove it”, try asking God to “Shuv it!”; a Hebrew phrase that means to restore. It is found in Psalm 80:3 “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” It has the sense of bringing back to one’s original state of blessing. The emphasis is on what God does, not what we do. Cooperation is required, but the action requested is not one that can be accomplished without God, whose name in verse three is “O LORD God of hosts” from the Hebrew letters YHWH translated today as Yahweh and formerly as Jehovah.
Time with friends, coworkers, and family is precious. When buying gifts, putting up lights, and preparing food does not leave enough relational time, the best thing to do is ask God to “shuv” it. “Restore balance in life, O Lord,” we pray.
That was the Psalmists heart cry. “Shuv, restore” our relationship with you heavenly Father and those we care about. Work out the flaws in these lumps of human clay. Restore what was lost in the Garden of Eden; peace, love, and trust rather than the impatience, hate, division, and greed we now experience and perpetuate. Yes, it’s time to “shuv” a few things.
The refrain’s “Let your face shine” in verse three is a profound metaphor. God’s “face” is God’s presence with his people. “Shine” comes from a complex of Hebrew words meaning “light.” We want God to illuminate our darkness and dispel the cold fear of an unknown future that lurks within it. The expression can also mean “Smile on us”. Who does not want God to smile favorably on them again?
All this has the purpose or result “that we may be saved (Yasha)”; i.e. to save, rescue, deliver, help, or give victory to. The word is linguistically related to the name “Jesus” — Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”.
It is often better to pull God into our brokenness, than ignore the cause and push others away.