"I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into springs... so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this," reads Isaiah 41:18, 20.

These words of God through the prophet Isaiah remind us of the "barren heights" that characterize much of our world, the "parched ground" on which we often attempt to build our lives. Not only is such characterization accurate in many physical settings, but even more so emotionally, spiritually and relationally. It was with an awareness of our human need for "rivers and springs" that God gave us Jesus.

One week from today, Christians around the world will be celebrating the birth of the One who would offer us springs of living water welling up within us. Unfortunately, many of us go through life without taking the time to "consider and understand that the hand of the Lord" is giving us this wonderful opportunity and accept the gift he offers. For some people, this is true even more so during the Christmas season.

All the lights, laughter and gift-giving, if we let them, can cause us to loose focus on what the season is all about -- the birth of God's son in whom we can sense the arrival of the time of which Isaiah wrote. I hope we will each resolve to not let this happen, but will intentionally, throughout this season, set aside moments in which we can truly consider and understand what "the hand of the Lord has done" and is continuing to do through those of us who hunger for the season in which Isaiah's words will come to pass.

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

(Editor's note: Steve McVay is pastor of Saratoga United Methodist Church in Eddyville. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect that of this newspaper.)