December 10th Advent Daily Devotional


Allison Byerley

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs taught us that bones tell a story. Her heroine Temperance Brennan coaxes the story of the past from skeletal remains. Where they were born, where they lived, and, most importantly for the books, how they died are revealed in the bones.

God takes Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones, which are Israel. The bones tell a story about their past, their defeat at the hands of Babylon, the destruction of the temple, and their exile away from the Promised Land. But this isn’t a forensic exercise; this isn’t the end of the story

God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, and, as he does, they come together, are covered with sinews, muscles and skin, and finally receive breath through the ruah of the Spirit, animating the dead and giving new life. God brings new life to dry bones.

In Advent, God says to us, “Prophesy. Speak hope, peace, joy, and love to the world.” Sometimes, those words seem as nonsensical as Ezekiel speaking to a valley of dry bones. Our headlines are filled with stories of women and men accusing powerful and popular men of egregious acts of sexual harassment and assault, name-calling by leaders of nuclear states, and increasing partisan vitriol on all sides. Peace, love, joy, and hope seem as far from us as life for the valley of bones.


Prophesy. What is impossible for humans is possible for God. Prepare for the breath that enters our world in the cry of a newborn child.


Rev. Dr. Allison Byerley is the Pastor of Mariposa UMC in Mariposa, CA.


©2017 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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