Anticipation and Advent

I generally like surprises! Especially good ones. This time of year anticipation hangs heavy in the air! But what are we waiting for?

A hand carved cresh from Mali, West Africa. The shepherds are Fulani herdsman.

A hand carved cresh from Mali, West Africa. The shepherd is a Fulani herdsman.

All the adds around are trying to get us to buy “stuff.” The anticipation of things! But there is so much more to the season!

These four weeks preceding Christmas make up the beginning of the church calendar called Advent. We are waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus, God made flesh. Emmanuel, God with us.

For the Joy that set before Him, he came to live among us. He experienced all of life’s joys and temptations, yet remained without sin. That is not something I cannot say about myself.

He came to endure the cross so we may become friends of God. God entering our existence as a baby, who’d have guessed!?! A defenseless baby!?! Yet without Him, we are eternally separated from our Creator. In many ways it is a fantastic story. What makes it even more fantastic is that it is true.

My prayer is that in this season of Advent, we can pause for a few moments of awe each day. The following is just a bit of fuel for you to spring from. Please add your own and always share with me how it goes.

Prayerfully consider:

*What would my life be like without Jesus? (I literally shudder at the thought.)

*When the shopping is finished, or before I start, how do I see life and goodness in the people I am giving to?

*Beyond obligation and sometimes entitled expectation, what are my deep reasons to give and be kind?

*How can I give of myself to those I love? (I love to give hugs and words of encouragement as liberally as possible and appropriate…all year round.)

*How do I see God in the faces and lives of those around me, whether friend or stranger?

*Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” has become an Advent ritual for me. I get out the tissues and I allow it to touch me as I ask Abba how I have touched the lives of others, and how others have touched me. Try it and get ready to be humbled and grateful….

 And the surprise? I Know that Jesus came willingly to reconcile us to Himself.

 

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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