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  • Writer's pictureFirst Congregational Church Winter Park



The earth dries up and withers... The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore…the wine dries up, the vine languishes, and all the merry-hearted sigh. - Isaiah 24:4-7


Given that tomorrow is my birthday, you who know me know that I watch my beloved “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy this time of year. Now, of course, I have to watch “The Hobbit” trilogy to whet the palette first.

In the “Hobbit” films, Evil begins to creep back into the world, firstly in the woodlands. It manifests itself as a sickness upon nature. The trees, the vegetation, the animals...they all begin to wither and die. Those who reside near these woodlands even give them a name due to the changes: “Mirkwood.” It is a harbinger for the darkness and challenges that are to come.

Isaiah paints a similar picture for us. When the darkness invades the world...and it always does...we will see changes around us. Bounty and abundance, health and goodness will diminish and wither. There will be visible signs in the world around us as a herald for that which seeks to overtake us.

This is why we need Emmanuel. The Light comes into the world so the darkness cannot overcome it. That doesn’t mean the darkness doesn’t try, though, and when it does we can see its work. The wine dries up, the vine languishes, and the merry-hearted sigh.

I know this past year or so I’ve been doing more deep sighing than I can remember. I can see the vine languishing around me every day. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve often grown frustrated, sad, angry, and impatient.

That’s why I need my trilogies at this time of year. By the time we get to the final film, I am reminded in many ways that Hope never dies, and even in the midst of the darkest days, there is a light that the darkness can never touch.

The vine may indeed languish, but the rains of Spring are coming.


Creator God, give us eyes to see the changes in our midst and when they are harbingers of darkness and bad tidings, grant us the courage to be the Light Of The World.




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