Advent is a time of waiting. It is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ. But waiting doesn’t have to be boring, and preparation doesn’t have to be a chore.
Both can be filled with joy. And so we wait, with the joy of looking back and remembering God’s good works in the world and in our lives. And we prepare, bubbling with the delight-filled anticipation of setting up the party for an honored guest.
In hope, in trust, in thanksgiving, in joy let us lay our hearts before God.next >
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
Isaiah 61:1-3next >
Frannie was twelve when she asked her parents, “So much of our homework and projects have to be done on computers, and a lot of the people can’t afford them. How can they do it?”
The follow up question was, “What can we do to help?” And E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide) was born, providing computers and Internet service to families that would otherwise be unable to afford them.
When the “spirit of the Lord” is upon us, it becomes our responsibility to bring the good news to those who have less, who are held back, whose hearts are broken. We live out our joy for God’s love by sharing that joy with others, particularly those cast aside by the world. That means we have to pay attention, ask difficult questions, and be creative in using our gifts. Joy isn’t always expressed in dancing and shouts of praise; sometimes our faithful response to the gifts of Jesus’ life is rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.
Shelli Lathamnext >
Dear God, help me to pay attention. Open my eyes, my ears, and my heart to the need around me. Stir up my compassion, and empower me that I might live a bold “thank you” to you by the way that I share your love. Amen.next >
“Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come Lord Jesus.”
Shelli Latham is the pastor at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, in Atlanta, Georgia. She believes the church is a place youth should be seen AND heard, loves Bible stories about feisty women doing gutsy things, celebrates any excuse to fly a kite in worship, and prefers her yellow cupcakes without icing.
Advent Reflections: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence