“Advent is not simply an invitation to set our houses in order for his birth. Advent is an urgent opportunity to set our houses in order for Jesus’ return. By taking the opportunity to rightly order our lives, we may anticipate the glorious return of Jesus joyfully.”
“The angels filled the sky saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men.” How does “Emmanuel,” God with us, bring peace into our lives? In what area of your life would you like for God’s peace to come?”
“Ours is an age of noise. We exchange our history for comforting lies of other gods. We exchange our worship for spectacles. We exchange true justice for parodies, imitations, mimicry. We fill our lives with noise. We silence the Word of the Lord.
But the Word comes nevertheless, not in an earthquake or fire or rushing wind, but in this man, Jesus the Christ.”
As Christians, we bear the light and allow it to shine through us so it may be offered to a world hungry for reconciliation and peace. We offer it to one another when times get rough and the waiting gets long. Sometimes, it gets so very long and can feel very desperate. Our response as Christians is not to brush the wait and darkness aside with simplistic answers and sound bite advice. We are not supposed to solve the problems others face but step into the darkness with others, offering the light we possess that Christ offered us. That is the participation we are called to during Christmas. O come, all you faithful ones.
Christmas is almost here! Thinking backing over the last few weeks, when have you felt the most peaceful? When have you felt the most stress or anxiety? As you think ahead to the coming week, what are you looking forward to? What, if anything, are you dreading? Offer those things into God’s care.
Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday; “gaudete” is Latin for “rejoice.” Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals that joy and rejoicing are an inevitable overflow in the lives of people who have understood and experienced God at work in their lives.
As good as the story of Esther is, however, it presents us with a problem: God is absent. Unlike other Old Testament stories, where we read of God appearing to Abraham or working behind the scenes to foil the plans of the Pharaoh, the story of Esther never mentions God. Rather, the characters in Esther appear to be acting on their own. God, it seems, is absent.
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