“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79
Today is the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent, of course, is the season of getting-ready-for-Christmas. The idea, in terms of The Christian Calendar, is to prepare our hearts for the coming of the King.
This is something I make a point of talking about every year. Why? Mostly because the sheer weight and persistency of the competing secular narrative can be enough to smother our spiritual awareness as a matter of routine. In other words, we must be deliberate about how we approach the Holiday Season if we intend to effectively engage the meaning of Christmas, and avoid arriving at December 25 tired, distracted, broke, disillusioned, cynical, and disappointed.
Advent at the improv:
This year, my plan is to share a photograph of a different ornament, decoration, or display each day. I’ll let the image serve as the jumping off point for whatever observations come to mind. It will comprise – essentially – a collection of improvisational Advent devotional thoughts.
Our children, Andrew and Naomi, were always wonderfully creative when it came to seasonal arts and crafts projects; and Naomi – more often than not – managed to add an indelible stamp of herself on her work.
That’s what happened when she made this clay pot angel when she was five – the same year she started wearing glasses. The angel features glasses and a grimace – which is why I thought of Gabriel. Not the glasses so much as the grimace.
You see, Gabriel got ticked off, miffed, offended – or, as Rebekah would put it, attitudinal – when Zechariah (John the Baptist’s father) failed to swallow the angel’s message of promise whole (see Luke 1:11-20).
I don’t know about you, but I’m just as guilty as Zechariah when it comes to being a doubter. But then, just as happened in Luke’s marvelous prequel to the Christmas story, the dust settles, I take a quiet moment, and the wonder of God’s amazing plan comes through with a quality of clarity and beauty that bursts in with conviction and with joy.
Listen to how Zechariah describes his faith in God’s promise and the coming of Jesus: “The morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness!” Or, in another translation, “The rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness!”
This is the good news of Advent! The morning light from heaven is about to break upon us. Hallelujah!