Follow by Email

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 22: Fourth Sunday in Advent

Here we are, days before Christmas. All four candles burning brightly now as we eagerly anticipate the fullness of the Light of the world drawing near once again. How has your season of preparation been? Are you ready to embrace the Christ child once again and allow Him to do His will in your life? Will these last few days before Christmas be hectic and full of making a list and checking it twice? Whatever the days ahead hold for you, I hope the light that dazzles the world will grab your attention and lead the way for you as we shift our focus to the new year that awaits us.
Today is special in many ways. It is the winter solstice...the shortest day of the year. That is good news for those us who live way up here. The sun is now beginning its journey towards us instead of away from us. We sit with the dark days for about 6 more weeks, but then suddenly, in February, we begin to notice that each day we really are gaining light and by early spring the night has disappeared all together. Christ's coming is like that. Sometimes we feel that we cannot go on, that life is too hard. The burdens too great. And then, we realize that we are being buoyed by something far greater than our own strength. The sustaining hope of something beyond this present pain spurs us on. The calming peace that comes only from knowing that God does indeed have His hand on the whole wide world settles us down. The joy that is ours, not because of life circumstances, but because of who God is yesterday, today and tomorrow brings us contentment even if happiness eludes us for a season. And finally the love that is poured into our lives through Christ's willingness to step down into darkness and dwell among us is worth pondering and embracing. We are loved, without condition, because we are God's created children. Yes, the growing light of Christ is ever present, hovering around us with hope, peace, joy and love...the truths that the 4 candles of advent often represent.
Today is also special because it is my parent's 51st wedding anniversary. Talk about faithfulness and steadfastness and love that never ends. Both Doug and I have parents who have long, fulfilling, sustained marriages. It is a gift to be a part of families that have this kind of commitment at its core. A year ago we celebrated my parent's 50th with a party filled with the tapestry of relationships from their lives. My mom was quite sick then and we were unsure what the year ahead would bring so it is with a special kind of joy and a deep sense of gratitude that we celebrate another anniversary with them. Our lives take on a special meaning when we show faithfulness to one another. We have learned it well from our God whose faithfulness is great...whose mercies are new every morning.
As you rush through these last days before Christmas, take a moment to ponder the ways in which hope, joy, peace and love have been manifest in your life. Consider the coming light of Christ and how that illuminates your dark path. And finally, thank God for His sustaining faithfulness and ponder your own faithfulness, in your human relationships and with God. Ask God to instill within you a spirit of faithfulness that stays the course over the long haul.