Our Common Life…Awe and Wonder

I sometimes have trouble mustering up much awe and wonder during the Advent and Christmas seasons. My mental energy too often gets consumed by list-making and discount coupons beckoning me to take advantage of “once-a-year” sales. My attention focused elsewhere, I can’t hear the birth-pangs reminding me once again of the coming of Christ.

Christians are called to go into the darkness of Advent and wait – anticipating the coming of God as a small child in a manger. Yet, everything in our wider culture pulls us away from the darkness and into the glittery holiday lights, Santa’s sleigh and brightly wrapped presents beneath the tree.

A blog I read recently on Duke Divinity’s Faith & Leadership website eloquently represents the tension inherent in this busy season of life. Author Allison Backous writes about Advent, “I want, as the early saints of the church professed, to approach this season of Christ’s nativity with reverence and right attention. To behold the incarnation of God with more awe than glitter. More wonder than vague, distracted celebration.”

I, too, want to behold this season with right attention — bowing in awe and wonder at a God that loved us so much that a son – a prophet and teacher infused with divine energy. The Messiah. The Anointed One. The God-made-flesh. The one who wants to be so close that God became human and share in our suffering and joy.

I implore you to covenant with me the rest of this season to keep our eyes and ears open – witnessing the countless ways in which God reveals the divine in the ordinary, the frail, the forgotten.

Where have you seen the incarnated Christ this Advent season? Pass along your stories of incarnation on our blog

Nicole Havelka, Association Conference Minister of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

5 comments on “Our Common Life…Awe and Wonder

  1. Ray Bowler on said:

    I will see the incarnate Christ in our congregation’s generous Christmas offering next week, in our response to the needs of the families using the Food Pantry, in our congregation hosting families for the Interfaith Hospitality Network the week before Christmas, in a youth Sunday school class raising money for a family for Christmas. “For as you have done it to the least of these my brothers you have done it unto me”.

  2. Dorothy Noer on said:

    My husband had recent surgery. I saw the incarnate Christ in friends who brought food, did heavy lifting, changed smoke alarm batteries, sent cards, offered prayers, made phone calls and sat with my husband so that I could grocery shop. Also for a neighbor who re-started my snow blower and a pastor who played a game of Scrabble with my husband. We are both greatful.

  3. Heidi Hulme on said:

    I have seen the incarnated Christ in the rehearsal for the children and youth led Christmas Eve worship service. There are so many of our “regular” families who are going to be away this Christmas, and I was afraid that we wouldn’t have a good turnout. The night of the first rehearsal was a different story. We had more young children than we have every had, 1 child who is a new visitor, 1 “new” youth whose family are members, but have not been to anything in the 5 years that I have worked in this church, and 1 youth who only comes very sporadically. New growth and life in something that I was afraid was dying. God always provides.

  4. Nicole Havelka on said:

    A common theme in all these posts seems to be that God is found in unexpected ways, in unexpected places, offered through the generosity and energy of those who surround you in community.

  5. Evie Waack on said:

    The official day of Christmas was over a week ago, yet I still find myself reflecting on the meaning of Christmas. My daily devotion during this time of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany comes from “A Child in Winter” a selection of writings by Caryl Houselander (an English lay woman, writing out of her life around WWII). The Dec. 29th selection states, “A child’s life is full of messy, inconvenient selfless moments that an adult would find embarrassing and humiliating. What self-respecting, human dignity can there be in diapers and bibs?” I think of my friend who did not travel out of state to visit her older brother. Rather she spent Christmas with her younger (adult) brother who has mental developmental disabilities. He is dying of kidney failure. My friend’s Christmas was not one of pleasure; rather her Christmas was one of providing for her younger brother’s physical and emotional needs. She did not share the details, yet I know that some of this care is not how a sister expects to be caring for her adult brother. What can be more incarnate?

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