‘”The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory.
He will create calm with his love;
he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB).
I was introduced to one of my favorite prayer songs, God be in my Head, in morning Chapel gatherings at Hope College when I was 18. As the daughter of a choir director, I loved the choral setting; as a writer I loved the parallel construction of each line and the simple expression of God’s availability and the need to give God everything within me.
God be in my head and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes and in my looking;
God be in my mouth and in my speaking;
God be in my heart and in my thinking;
God be at my end and at my departing.
But it took a very intimate picture near the end of the Old Testament painted by Zephaniah of a warrior God who sings tenderly over me as a mother sings over her newborn to help me understand the depth of God’s deep love and the breadth of God’s care for me. This is a God who will fight for my allegiance at the same time he loves me tenderly! This is a God who is not removed but in my midst!
At the very end of the New Testament, John goes back to this same scenario:
Look, I am making the whole of creation new. …. Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone” (Revelation 21:5; 21:3-4).
This is the blessing of Advent! The Lord is in our midst! The God who loves us individually and sings over us is doing great things among us! His love will “create calm! “This is our hope for 2019 and beyond. The Lord is in our midst!