Monday, December 6, 2021

New at Every Turn

When I began this blog thirteen years ago, my goal was to teach about Advent, to share poems and verses and thoughts. I was reacting to the emphasis on consumerism and an apparent gap in the Christ-centeredness of Christmas. Not much has changed, in general. But over the years, more and more people have added their voices to the chorus. Online magazines, spiritual influencers, inspirational writers, mental health advocates, mommy bloggers, ministry websites, poets, pastors, and saints—everywhere you turn in December, Advent is being written and talked about.

So, is there anything new to glean from the prophecies about Christ, from the Nativity story, from the anticipation of Jesus’ return?

In some ways, no. Everything we write about Scripture has a great probability of being recycled information. Ecclesiastes even tells us there is nothing new under the sun.
And yet, Advent speaks deeply to each of our hearts.

It is easy to think about the message of Advent on a global scale. The whole nation of Israel—flung pretty far across the known world at that point—was waiting for the Messiah. It was a collective waiting, deeply rooted in everything they knew about God and His character.

But the message of Advent was intensely personal for Mary, for Joseph, for Zechariah, for Elizabeth, for the shepherds, for the wise men, for Simeon and Anna, even for King Herod. As each character in this story encountered Christ (small and baby, yet mighty and king), they experienced something completely and utterly new.

Two thousand years later, each time we read this story, it is possible to find a new truth. Not something that wasn’t there before, but something we didn’t see before.

And so, I will keep learning, and reflecting and writing. Because in Advent I can sit honestly and humbly with stories of pain and suffering, hopefulness and anticipation, faith and joy, and know that I am secure in a God who cares for both the cosmos and the cradles, the weary and the wise.

I will close with a poem by one of my favorites—Madeleine L’Engle, whose “glorious impossible” caught the imagination of a young girl celebrating Advent with her family and sparked a lifetime of loving the richness of this timeless Story.

The Ordinary so Extraordinary
By Madeleine L’Engle

He came, quietly impossible,
Out of a young girl’s womb,
A love as amazingly marvelous
As his bursting from the tomb.

The child was fully human,
This child was wholly God.
The hands of All Love fashioned him
Of mortal flesh and bone and blood,

The ordinary so extraordinary
The stars shook in the sky
As the Lord of all the universe
Was born to live, to love, to die.

He came, quietly impossible:
Nothing will ever be the same:
Jesus, the Light of every heart–
The God we know by name.




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