Fourth Week of Advent

Our time of waiting nears its end*. Hopes now acute, we lean forward with expectant joy toward the day of Jesus’ nativity. Are you embracing those around you? Are you listening for signs of redemption? Are you prayerful and repentant? Are you making good use of your waiting?

We can discover much in the waiting. This is one discovery we make: the incarnation reveals to us, along with much else, the truth that Jesus is with us, in the real world, amid our laughter and tears, in our dark and in our light. Jesus truly is with us.

The Christmas story is familiar to everyone. Christmas cards and other modern renditions give us glimpses of a flawless Mary in pristine wrinkle-free clothing, a steady and unperturbed Joseph in an equally immaculate robe, a cheerful stable with clean straw and friendly animals…. Luke’s version is different: Mary isn’t even officially married to Joseph yet she’s pregnant; they have to travel…a distance of forty miles throughout the Samaritan and Judean hills; she gives birth…and has to lay her firstborn infant not in a cradle, but a feeding trough…. If we put ourselves into this situation, we sense pretty quickly it is no glittering Christmas card. It is real life…. {Dallas Willard}

*of course, I refer to this season of Advent waiting. We still yearn with all of creation for our full redemption.

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