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Posts Tagged ‘#advent’

The waiting of advent is akin to the waiting of an expectant mom. Then the time of waiting culminates in the birth of the Christ child.

I remember being pregnant at Christmas a couple of times. The awareness and connectedness that I felt to pregnant Mary caused me to ponder her experiences in my heart.

During each advent and Christmas they resurface once again.

I remember keenly the day I made the following statement to my grandmother, when I was maybe thirteen: “Gram, the Catholics really overemphasize Mary, don’t they?”

To which she replied, swiftly “and maybe the Protestants don’t emphasize her enough.”

Mary was chosen, by God, to be more than just the vessel through which his son would be born human. She was his choice. Not only was she to carry him in her womb, but she laboured him through birth, nursed him, cared for all of his needs. She was his momma.

It was her finger that he first grasped, her eyes that he first stared into, the sound of her voice that he first recognized, her touch that most comforted him.

In each of these firsts we see what heaven will be like, but it will be not just the finger, but the hand of Jesus held out to us, his eyes that we will look into, his voice of invitation and the comfort of his touch.

When a woman is expecting, especially for the first time, there is such curiosity of what is happening within her. Truly pregnancy is a mystery with great anticipation and expectation. Each stage, each movement is awe-inspiring.

Truly every pregnancy is miraculous.

At Christmas the miracle of the pregnancy of Mary is central to the narrative.

In the genealogy of Jesus, is recorded the most intimate of connections to Jesus,

“Joseph, the husband of Mary, 
and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

To be the mother of Jesus was a high calling, one that need great emphasis, as our Word emphasizes not just her name, but her role (and name) of mother.

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We are walking in the season of light, in the season of darkness.

As I sit in the quiet of my living room, taking in the light of the Christmas tree, I am amazed at the light it provides, how such dainty bulbs can illuminate the room on such a dark night.

Christmas is about the light of the life of Christ, illuminating a world in the midst of the darkest darkness … a world filled with and ruled by sin.

Sin is a hard thing to talk about. It is not an in word to use. It doesn’t feel good, because other, uncomfortable words accompany it. Words like guilt and shame. Those are the darkest of words to one’s soul.

It is not that they are the wrong things to accompany sin, for they belong together perfectly. 

The good news is that when Christ came, as that babe in Bethlehem, he did so to take away our guilt, our shame, our sin. His birth, his life, pushed away the darkness of our guilt, and shame and sin. He lit with world with his light, illuminating all the dark corners of our life.

John 1:5 reminds us, 

“The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The darkness still has not overcome it.

Sure the world has dark corners, sad world events, politics that make us shake our heads, sickness that … makes us sick, heartaches that carry the weight of the world, relationships that just seem impossible …

and then Jesus comes, and says, “I’m possible”,”my light is still shining” …

and the darkness … it still has not overcome it.

Look toward the light, it’s still shining.

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“It’ll hurt, but once we rip the bandaid off, it’s over” said one of my parents when I was a young child, with an owie, covered by a bandaid.

They were right. It did hurt to pull it off, but not nearly as long or as much as I had feared. 

We are just days away from the advent season, which heralds in a new year in the church calendar. We go from the old of this year towards the coming of Jesus … something we need to go towards.

I only just realized recently that advent is the beginning of the year, not the end. As Christians we are to start the year in anticipation, for advent means to come, as we celebrate Jesus’ first coming, as a babe, and anticipate his second promised coming.

As I read about the Sunday Next Before Advent, one of the Gospel readings led me to John 1, and I was particularly intrigued by verses 35-37:

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said,
“Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this,

they followed Jesus.

John (the Baptist) had followers, in this passage they are refereed to as his disciples. He was their leader, their teacher, and they were his students. They followed him because they wanted to hear what he said.

His primary teaching was about the Messiah … the long anticipated redeemer, the light of the world.

“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” (v. 6-8)

John led his followers to the light he was born to point to. He knew that it was Jesus’ light that all should follow.

“He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (v. 15)

These words are intriguing, for John was born before Jesus. It was when his mother, Elizabeth, was greeted by Mary, the mother of Jesus, that John made his very first movements, in utero. John knew that Jesus had existed before the beginning of time, for he was known by Jesus even before he was born.

“John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (v. 23) 

Over, and over, John pointed to Jesus.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (v. 29-30)

John was constantly reminding people that he was not who they were looking for, but that he knew who they wanted to find.

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, 
“Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, 

they followed Jesus.” (v. 35-37)

John was so good in his leading of people to Jesus that, when his followers saw him, they left John, heading off to follow Jesus. It was as though John had been their bandages, initiating their healing from sin, but when Jesus was near, it was time to rip that bandage, and go towards the great physician.

As we begin a new Christian calendar year, may we remember that he alone can set us free, not just from the bandages of the year past, but the bondage that they have on us.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

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