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.