Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

Advent 2

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

        She was a young twenty-something Native American. We were told to watch out for her. She was suspected of pan handling personal items from other volunteer-in-mission work teams.

        In chapter 11 the Isianic writer relates a radical scene of future peace. Leopards, goats, wolves, and lambs relaxing together as life-long friends. Lions and cattle enjoying a feast of nutritious straw. Children and snakes playing together in total fear abandonment. It reads like a page out of a make-believe story book.

        One of the Advent themes is hope. The prophet is describing a day of hope. A righteous hope that redefines fairness and justice in terms beyond comprehension.

        Our team was rebuilding a burned out Community Center at Shiprock near Four Corners. She quietly joined our team meetings. We invited her to eat with us. Meal times are always spiritual occasions with mission work teams. She was invited to join our devotions and discussions. She began to express her doubts and questions about faith. As the weeks came to a close she had become one of us, part of our team.

        Grace is amazing! The peaceful scene among former enemies posed by Isaiah seems like fantasy running amuck. The change affected by grace in the lives of people is no less dramatic. The entire message from God through Advent/Christmas is summed up as, “I forgive you.” She was there as we were departing, with a gentle smile, exchanging her address for ours. I’ll not soon forget her. We shared Christian love with hope and peace and watched as faith began to germinate.

        What is your hope for this Advent?

Advent 1

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Advent is a futuristic event that resounds from the past and surrounds our presence. We were at the mall. I saw the sign and stopped for curiosity’s sake. “Ice Cream of the Future” so named because the astronauts eat it. I sampled the BB sized ice cream pellets kept at 30 degrees below zero. It was delectable! The ice cream and the Christmas décor piqued my future and present senses. 

We were the best kind of tired. Forty-five of us had toiled together loading a 23,000 cubic foot shipping container bound for the Ilula Orphan Program in Ilula, Tanzania. IOP is providing for over 12,000 orphans. The best kind of tired is the joy received from giving for the benefit of others. 

The Hebrew writer teaches that it was for joy Jesus endured the cross. I wonder whose joy? His joy? I doubt that it was a joyful experience for him. It was for the benefit of others that Jesus endured the cross. I suspect rather then, it was for our joy. Whenever we exert ourselves for the benefit of others the presence of Christ saturates us. When the orphanage receives the container loaded with supplies and gifts, the presence of Christ will saturate and overflow the senses of the entire village. 

It’s been called Africa’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Fatima Usman has seen two of her children die from hunger and another from cholera. Her remaining 4 month-old child is getting help from a clinic. But her body is not producing enough milk for him.

Advent means God “coming to” us. It’s a futuristic event that piques our senses through messages of the past and occurrences of the present. As we make preparations for the Feast of Christmas, God’s presence will invade our senses. How can your Advent preparations make a difference for others?