November 23, 2009

Nov. 23: Bursting in and breaking out


By Bob Yoder, campus pastor

If you had a particular message to convey to someone, how would you go about doing that? If you wanted to tell a group of close friends some really exciting news, what would you do to fully express your passion? I remember well when Pamela and I became engaged. How would we let people know of the joy we wanted to share? To start with, we gave my parents a photo of the two of us as a way of sharing the good news with them. We called Pamela’s mother and a few other people, and then eventually resorted to a mass e-mail. But the moments leading up to our sharing the news or clicking “send” were ones of joyously anticipating their response.

Welcome to Goshen College’s online devotionals for the 2009 Advent season! Our theme this year, taken from Mennonite Church USA worship resources, is “Bursting in and breaking out.” Because the past year has been filled with extraordinary confusion, chaos and fear, the first Gospel reading of the season will strike our ears with unusual relevance: “People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world” (Luke 21:26). In such an uncertain time, Advent calls us to a kind of “bifocal” vision: to see both the cosmic picture of God’s loving purposes and action and our immediate, local setting where God breaks into our lives in ordinary and un-ordinary ways. The Advent-Christmas season offers hope and assurance that God is still at work – offering love, grace and peace, even in the midst of fearful times.

I wonder what was going through God’s mind over 2,000 years ago as Jesus was about to be born on this earth. Was God joyously anxious? Did God have goose bumps as the good news was about to burst onto the scene? Advent 1 challenges us to “Watch.” As you drive to work, bike to a friend’s house or walk for a leisurely stroll, what signs and wonders of God’s activity do you observe? How is God’s good news breaking out?

O God, help us to watch, to marvel, and to posture ourselves with gratitude.



Comments (13)

  1. Thank you for this devotional during this Advent Season. It is much appreciated and anticipated. What a wonderful reminder of the Christ child and the miracle meaning of his birth! I am sure will will receive a great response!

    Ellie Young November 23, 2009 |
  2. These all are a very inspirational words for the new season we are just taking up. May God guide all our steps and enlighten our minds, putting flames of love in our hearts.

    José November 23, 2009 |
  3. thanks for this timely devotional to start the advent season off with the right attitude and thoughts

    david lewis November 23, 2009 |
  4. Thank you, Bob, for helping us think about an”old” story in new and compelling ways. As we begin another advent season, you remind us that neither waiting nor watching are passive activities!

    Lisa Guedea Carreno November 23, 2009 |
  5. God calls each one of us to “break out” and share his grace and love with the world. Hearing His gentle voice among the Christmas chaos is sweet music to the soul. I would love to hear what His calling sounds like to others who participate in this advent season.

    Emily Jantzi November 23, 2009 |
  6. Is it possible to redesign the page so the devotional could be printed by itself without having to copy and paste to another file before printing? That would be greatly appreciated.

    Willard Ebersole November 23, 2009 |
    • Willard, try the “Print this article” button at the bottom of the devotions and see if that helps.

      Devotions Admin November 23, 2009 |
  7. Will you please make the print for devotionals bigger!!
    I can’t read it!!

    Barbara November 23, 2009 |
  8. Does God have goosebumps? I know what you were going for but I’m sure the tone is just wrong. Goosebumps? The Lord, Most High with goosebumps? Even university students deserve better than this…

    Hal King November 23, 2009 |
  9. It’s easy to notice the extraordinary ways God breaks into our lives. We expect to find God in the power and majesty. It is in the ordinary that we often fail to see him – yet this is how he came 2000 years ago. How often does God’s own arrival in my life go as unnoticed as the birth of a king in a stable. Thanks for being part of His breaking into my life today.

    Josh Kellar November 24, 2009 |
  10. I’m feeling contrite about my earlier comments, Bob. Keep trying. God is using you.

    Hal King November 25, 2009 |
  11. Thank You for reminding me to stop, to look ,to see how
    God is breaking into my life in ordinary and un-ordinary
    ways. Josh thanks for your comment on this devotional
    I to fail to see God”s arrival in my life.Thanks for breaking
    into my life.

    Karen Speight November 26, 2009 |
  12. Hal…thanks much…and no problem. May God continue to walk with you in these days of Advent and beyond. Peace of Christ to you.

    Bob Yoder November 29, 2009 |