“Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.” -Isaiah 11:5
It seems my entire life has been devoted to losing weight. I started the year with a goal; I wanted to return to my college weight (and confess I’ve over half-way there). I have reached the final notch in my belt and will need to either cut a new notch sometime in the next few weeks or pray Santa will bring me a belt with a new set of notches I can begin playing with.
I used to wear both suspenders and belts (suspenders to keep the pants up and belt upon which to hang my cell phone holster), but a friend made fun of me. He said, “There is the sign of a man with absolutely no faith – wearing a belt and with suspenders!” So now I mostly wear just a belt. Yes, I was shamed into it (I ashamedly admit). Besides, I got tired of the suspender grips constantly coming unsnapped. I guess I just wasn’t built for suspenders – or they weren’t engineered to handle the stresses I put upon them. Either way, I buckled down, lost weight, and notched it as a victory in the end (or wherever).
It seems strange for Isaiah to mention belts, for the men of the middle east wear robes, and robes don’t require cinctures. On the other hand, they did need a place for tucking in their money bag or hanging their knife. This allowed them to keep their hands free for working the land, or testing merchandise being sold in the bazaars, or defending the flock from predators. Their belts enabled them to be safe and secure and to do right by friend and neighbor.
Advent, it seems, invites us to learn to let go and let God. It may be a season in which we live in suspense, but we are free to belt out those wondrous tunes that guide us toward the season of light and joy.
God, help me relax. Help me to know that you’ve got me covered. Help free up my hands that I may use them to Your glory, and to Your honor, and to the praise of Your Name. Amen.
-The Rev. Keith Axberg