In a recent children's sermon, I asked the kids what was different about the sanctuary. They noted the white paraments, the Chrismons on the tree, the Advent wreath and the manger scene with the empty crèche. When I asked why they thought everything was different, one child looked up and said, "Well, of course it's different. It has to be. Jesus is coming." What better thing could anyone say but "Jesus is coming" and this has made all the difference?
Our Scriptures point to this great act of God in sending himself in Christ Jesus. But in this season of preparation we don't hear about pastoral scenes of shepherds or sweet little baby Jesus. In contrast, our Advent Scriptures are about this great power of God who is coming into the world. This year we hear about the moon becoming blood, all the hills being made flat, the Word of the Lord coming into the world, angelic visions and announcements to young girls. And in the midst of all of this, a hairy wild man points to and prepares the way of the Lord.
These aren't sweet and innocent Christmas card moments. These are announcements of who is coming: the creator of the universe, one whose very will and word set the stars ablaze and whose breath moved into the human and brought life. The one for whom we wait is God. The one who is the Holy of Holies is coming to live among us, walk with us and love us.
That's what is so amazing about the Advent and Christmas season. The one for whom we wait is the creator of all things. God in Christ is the alpha and the omega. But we marvel at the way in which he chose to enter into this existence with us. Our Lord Jesus came without the trappings of worldly power. He came in such a way that we would not be overwhelmed by his power. Christ came into this world as the lowest of the low and does this so all might come to him.
So what we experience in Advent is the reminder of the truth of who our God is. God is the great power behind all creation. The miracle of Christmas is that by God's power, initiative and loving purpose, he comes into this place where we live in a manner that we might know he is here for us all. This is our God and our Savior. This is the one who emptied himself so we might come to his light and life.
Check out this week's articles:
Advent waiting: (right) It's not just about us. This season let's come to God.
A one-stop center for life change: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota brings it all under one roof.
Liturgy leaders: An Austin, Texas, congregation receives the gift of child-led eucharist.
Also: Godly governance.
Also: Lutherans laugh?
Tell us: How do you pray?
The Lutheran’s April 2009 cover story is on prayer. How does prayer sustain you? Have you tried new prayer methods (prayer journals, centering prayer, etc.)? What forms of prayer do you use now? What’s most helpful? Do you have a special place to pray? Do you have a story of the power of prayer in your life? Or how your prayers on behalf of someone else contributed to healing or transformation in their life? What would you like to know about prayer?
Send your 200-300 word stories and comments by Jan. 16, 2009, by e-mail or to Sonia C. Solomonson, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631.
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