Faith reflections: Advent
by Emily Carson
Growing up, I desperately wanted to be a news anchor or an infomercial host. I regularly convinced my little brother to play “news” with me. We’d get out the giant VHS video-camera and hours of fun would ensue. I didn’t end up becoming a news anchor, but from time to time, that journalism bug still bites.
We are now entering into the season of Advent. During this special time of year, we’re all invited to be reporters of the good news of Jesus’ birth. Not only do we get to recount the story of God coming to earth to live among us 2,000 years ago, we also get to tell the story of how God is alive and active in our lives today.
Recently, I was struck by the first four verses of the Gospel of Luke. In order to prove that the gospel is a reliable document, the author notes that his investigation skills are top-notch. The writer of the gospel states:
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed (Luke 1:1-4 ).
From the very beginning of time, people have been witnessing and sharing about the activity of God on earth. It’s a neat image: human beings as investigators and reporters on the goodness of God. The story didn’t stop with the Gospel of Luke, though. The world still needs reporters, investigators, and eye-witnesses.
This month’s “Faith Reflection” is an invitation to imagine yourself in these roles. You are the reporter, the investigator, and the eyewitness! What God-sightings and miracles can you report on this month?
1. In what situations have you felt God’s nearness in recent weeks? God is always with us, but sometimes we experience it more than others. Think back through recent challenges and joys. Were there particular occasions when you knew without a doubt that God was there? How did it feel? Use all your senses. God comes into our lives through sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste!
2. Where have you seen the Holy Spirit at work lately? The Holy Spirit is the part of the Trinity that inspires us, leads us, and gives us new ideas. What has the Holy Spirit been up to recently in your life? How about in the life of your congregation or workplace? What details would you report about the Holy Spirit’s activity?
3. Are there ways that God enters into the small details of your life that you might be overlooking? The best reporters are the folks who don’t just look at the surface level of a story but instead, dig deep. Investigate the details of your life. Travel through each step of your daily routines. God is in the midst of it all. In what details do you most experience God’s nearness?
4. With whom might you share your God reports? Sometimes it’s nice to keep our encounters with God private and personal. Other times, it’s really important to be able to share them. If the author of the Gospel of Luke had kept those reports about Jesus to himself, we wouldn’t have that book of the Bible! I’m glad he used his reporter skills to share the news of Jesus with the world. Find ways to share your own encounters with God! A few ideas: Use social media to share your God stories; allot five minutes for participants to share at the beginning or end of Bible study; incorporate God reports into coffee hour; or share your special moments with loved ones at the dinner table. There are many ways to share your eyewitness reports of Christ’s love. Practice the ways that are most life-giving to you.
Closing Prayer: Creating God, thank you for inviting us into the journey of Advent. Help us to be true eyewitnesses of your gracious presence in the weeks ahead. Thank you for your promise to be fully present in all of life’s details. Amen.
The Rev. Emily Carson is a pastor in Stewartville, Minn. She loves laughter, photography, trips to the library, and adventures. She writes daily for her blog,The Lady Pastor.