Voices in the Desert: A Child of Promise

Voices in the Desert Advent Series: Day Two-A Child is Born

Day Two-A Child of Promise




I got what I paid for. After all, it was Thanksgiving week in San Francisco. Despite the usurious rate of $89.99 a night (and that was 12 years ago), the postage-stamp sized hotel room had stained carpet, peeling wallpaper and towels as thick as toilet paper. They may have called it a non-smoking room, but everything smelled like stale cigarettes. The noise from the streets pushed through the cracks around the doorway, interrupting our sleep and leaving us bleary-eyed in the morning. The room made me grumpy, and I wished we had the luxury of staying in a clean hotel.

The depressing surroundings only seemed to make the disappointing news even worse. Pedro’s white blood cell counts weren’t high enough for them to start harvesting stem cells. We’d have to wait until the Monday after Thanksgiving to have the port put in his neck so the harvest could began. We decided to drive over to Reno, NV where my parents had taken our girls for the week of Thanksgiving vacation.

The good news? Leaving San Francisco for a few days meant escaping from the horrible hotel room. Pedro’s overall health at this point—weighing in at 135 lbs. on his 6’3” frame, a paralyzed face from the cancer in his spinal fluids and brain, neuropathy in his foot and hand, eyelids that wouldn’t close so that he couldn’t read or watch a lot of television—prevented us from ‘enjoying’ the city or doing pretty much anything but sitting around and playing card games. I needed a serious injection of hope.

I said a selfish prayer that I’d find something nicer, yet cheap in Reno for a few days. If I didn’t find anything, I knew we could stay with my parents and other family members at my parent’s time share condo—but I also knew it would be crowded and noisy and with so many people around, Pedro might end up catching a cold—and that would only set things back again.

After checking the Internet for deals, I felt like I’d hit the jackpot when I booked a room at the Hilton for only $25.00 a night. When we arrived and checked into our room, I thought the front desk had made some mistake. Our living room, dining room and bedroom would have fit easily into the hotel room. Plush towels hung from the racks in a bathroom that our kitchen would fit inside of. A hot tub filled one corner of the bathroom—the perfect place to relax and soak away the dirty feeling left by the last hotel. The room restored me in an inexplicable way. We would be close to our girls and my family—but still have a luxurious retreat where we could catch up on sleep and spend some quality time together (something we hadn’t had since July).

As I contemplate the advent, that horrible hotel in San Francisco always comes to mind. Just like Israel I felt beleaguered, bashed and betrayed—grumpy about our lack of prosperity and the fact that nothing seemed to be going right (mind you, Pedro had just experienced a miraculous recovery from a blood yeast infection not a month earlier—I guess I’m more like the Israelites than I’d like to admit…).

 And yet…Isaiah 9: 6-7 tells of a light…a promise…someone to save the people from their darkness…and give them hope while they wait.

 “A child will be born to us.” And he was born in a stable—a place dirtier and noisier than a cheap hotel room could ever be. I complained about the stained carpet and the stale cigarettes—but the child? He entered the world to the stamp of hooves and the sharp smell of fresh manure. His parents could only afford a cheap stable during the crowded census. Dank. Full of sweaty animals. Loud noises. No privacy.

“to us a son is given,
 and the government will be on his shoulders.
 And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

A prince—leaving the perfection of heaven to enter our dirty, sinful world. And not just for a few nights, but for thirty-three years.

 “Of the greatness of his government and peace
 there will be no end.
 He will reign on David’s throne
 and over his kingdom,
 establishing and upholding it
 with justice and righteousness
 from that time on and forever.
 The zeal of the Lord Almighty
 will accomplish this.”

And me? I get what HE paid for(tweet this)

I don’t deserve it. I often think the front desk got it wrong, to send the Messiah to a dirty stable–it’s not what the king of kings deserved. And so this season of Advent and anticipation reminds me that we don’t get what we deserve—we get what HE deserves instead.(tweet this)

Because he came as a child of promise. A promise for now and for evermore.

And you?  How does the promise work on your heart?

For more Advent devotionals, join us daily at Voices in the Desert.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Oh my, Anita. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your words, your story.
    Sarah recently posted…Christmas is ComingMy Profile

  • Oh, how I love this! Beautiful, and such a great real-life picture to bring it to life.
    Kirsten Oliphant recently posted…Voices in the Desert: Advent Day 1My Profile

  • This is an incredible picture of the gift that Jesus gave to us in Himself. I love the thought that we get what He deserved. Overwhelmed actually by that thought this morning. Thank you for setting my mind on truth. May your advent journey be full of great joy!!
    Becky Daye recently posted…Voices in the Desert~ Reflections on AdventMy Profile

    • Thank you. Your words humble me. May your Advent journey be full of peace and joy!

  • Wow – how lovely. Blessed to find you during this advent season. Look forward to reading all of these posts and meeting new writer friends. He got we deserved and we got what He deserved instead. Oh me. I think often of how no one would let an innocent man die, and yet faces were turned to make sure this precious one did. 🙁 but all for love’s sake, for our sake, he came poor to give richness to the poor in spirit.
    Jamie S. Harper recently posted…Advent: Day 2My Profile

  • What a joy to meet you. I have worn your shoes and I appreciate your heart dear Sister. Bless you and I’m so glad for Kristin uniting us this way. God is doing a beautiful work.
    Lorretta recently posted…the best UN-birthday everMy Profile

    • It’s wonderful to meet you, too, Lorretta! I love seeing how God uses each of us to reach out to others through modern technology–it blows my mind, in fact. I, too, am thankful for all of Kirstin’s hard work at putting this together, and I look forward to each day’s posts.

  • Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. What an amazing reminder of what our Savior gave up for us filthy sinners. Thank you again and Merry Christmas!
    Courtney recently posted…Friday Night Foodie: Thanksgiving StyleMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Courtney! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  • Some of your best. Beautiful.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…the 9th day of christmasMy Profile

  • What a journey you travel – and bring life experiences to remind us of His birth and the dreary conditions He had to be born into…and what beautiful encouragement and inspiration you share during this Advent Season – thank you for the reminder of our Savior who was born such lowly conditions as a promise to us all! May God continue to bless you.
    Barbara recently posted…PATIENCEMy Profile

    • I’m so glad that the cancer journey is over (although those caregiver memories sure feel as real as if they happened yesterday, don’t they?!), and that Pedro has been cancer-free for almost 12 years. God gives us so many lessons in our ordinary, mundane lives.

  • “We get what He deserved” .. what a great way to think about it, thanks for the reminder. Have a blessed day my friend.
    Tobi@SimplyJesus recently posted…The Weary World Rejoices. {Oh, Holy Night!}My Profile

    • Thank you, Tobi! I appreciate you stopping by and leaving some love and encouragement :).

  • Praying for you. I often am surprised at how much I am like the Israelights. I am so like them. I used to wonder how they could be so ignorant until I realized I am no better. Praying for you and your husband, I’m glad you were able to get some needed time away.
    Amanda recently posted…Why I believe in Santa ClausMy Profile

    • Thank you for your prayers! This story took place more than twelve years ago, but it just so happens we’re both sick right now and the prayers and surely appreciated! Every time I get all Judgy McJudgerton, I think about what a basket case I really am. It helps.

  • Dear Anita …

    I’m praying for you and Pedro even as we speak. I just know that God is going to be keeping you on my heart in the days ahead. And I will be lifting you back up to Him.

    Hugs, my friend …
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…10 Superb Stocking StuffersMy Profile

    • After reading two comments where readers thought the story was happening now, I decided I had better edit it a bit so everyone knew this wasn’t a current problem we faced! But your prayers are surely appreciated, because we’re both sick this week and work is crazy. Sometimes, when I write about the cancer year, it all feels so immediate–even thou it happened twelve years ago! Hugs back to you, Linda!

  • Not sure if my comment got in or lost. So here it is…WOW! An amazing story of an amazing God. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sheila. This comment made it! I checked the spam folder, and didn’t see another one (I always check it for real people who got mislabeled by the filter before I empty it ;)). Thank you for stopping by!

  • It’s easy to wonder why Jesus’ life began in such a humble way but this beginning was the perfect way to set the stage for how we should live our own lives. His promise is my gift and it fills my heart with such joy. I pray we all know this gift in our lives. Blessings!
    Mary Geisen recently posted…The Christmas MissionMy Profile

  • I love this. Had to tweet it. Praise God for blessing you in such a little thing — and for blessing us all in the most important thing!
    Sarah recently posted…that’s CRAZYMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words and for sharing :).

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  • Doc

    How could any of this be better stated? It cot’dnlu.