Day 16

December 13

December 13

Isaiah 40:9-11

9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" 10 See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

A Poetic Paradox

by Burt Burleson, D.Min.

The poet of this passage sees and says what is paradoxical. There is first an image of the powerful Sovereign Lord, who rules with a mighty arm, and then there’s a shepherd, tending, gathering, carrying a lamb close to the heart. God the mighty ruler. God the gentle leader. It is a poetic paradox.

The things that are truest are always this way... too wonderful for one metaphor or a single name. The psalmist had seen both... both sides of the Divine reality... power and gentleness. And the Psalmist holds both and invites us to do the same. The truest truths are always like this.

At Christmas we celebrate a truest truth. God beyond us is God with us, Yahweh and Emmanuel. God almighty, the vulnerable swaddled baby, are one and the same... so large and brilliant, tiny and tender. We have seen and known both. We have been held by God and we have held God.

Ponder, in these quiet days of Advent, what you know but can’t explain... another paradox. Let the wonder of it all be wonderful.

Learn More About Our Guest Writer

Burt Burleson, D.Min.Burt Burleson, D.Min.

Burt Burleson, D.Min., is the Baylor University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Life. Dr. Burleson is essential to nurturing the depth of faith, spiritual wholeness, and missional life of our Baylor students.

Dr. Burleson is a native Texan who was born in Beaumont and grew up in Dallas. He holds a bachelor's degree from Baylor, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Austin Presbyterian Seminary. After fifteen years in student ministry and pastoral counseling, Burt became the first pastor of the DaySpring Baptist Church in Waco where he served for 12 and a half years. In October of 2007, he left DaySpring to become University Chaplain at Baylor. He and his wife, Julie, have two children; Abby and Brandt.