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Advent - God comes to live with us

posted Dec 15, 2017, 9:26 PM by Bowmansville UMC

The season of Advent is here!  We’re back to the beginning of the church yearly cycle.  And I celebrate my Second Advent season among you as your pastor.  I look forward to all the trimming of Christmas in our Bowmansville Sanctuary and the brightness of God’s light into the world.  It feels so good to be here and be able to join you in this challenging adventure of ministry in Christ’s presence; for God is surely in our midst!

And here is the core certainty of the season of Advent:  God comes to live with us.

At this time of year when we speak of this spiritual reality that God actually living amongst us, it just rolls off our tongues without much thought.  What if we were to stop and really take in what this means?  It is nothing short of a radical message; a revelation of something totally unique in all human history.

When you think about Christianity, no other religion makes a similar claim; no other religion even suggests that their God physically enters human time and space to live amongst us.  Advent is the season we focus in on this part of our faith.

The four Lessons that lead us to celebrate Christ’s birth this year begin with the call to stay alert, for Christ’s coming will overtake us when we least expect it (Matthew 24:36-44). They speak of radical changes leading to a reordering of expectations (Isaiah 11:1-10).  By the third week we see how God will turn over the tables of the status quo in unexpected ways (Luke 1:39-56).  A humble Hebrew couple become the bearers of the promise.  And Joseph is included in the story as the humble servant, who in his kindness to Mary is granted a heavenly visitation.  Thus he fulfills his parental role to name the child, Jesus and take him as his boy in their home. (Matthew 1:18-25).

The Advent Lessons end by giving us another name for Jesus; he will be known as Emmanuel, which means, God is with us.  This is radical Good News for all generations. We can believe that God is high and lifted up, but as Christians we make another claim; our God lives amongst us.  Thus in humility we can pray: “Lord, I need your help today. I have much to do and cannot do it alone. Walk with me and be my wisdom and my strength.”

As we immerse ourselves in the season of Advent this year, let us put on the garments of humility which will make it possible for us to hear God speaking to us from unexpected places; even in the voice of a child.

Blessings and love to you all...

Pastor Jim