Archive for December 6th, 2020

Second Sunday of Advent

Close your eyes, breathe, and clear your mind. Be still. Center your scattered senses on God’s presence.

REFLECTION: Written by Barb Hoekstra, a contemporary Christian author. This is an excerpt from her devotion Advent: Lessons in Waiting.

In the case of waiting, experience does not generate expertise. We all have experience waiting. We endure short-term waiting in lines, at stoplights, or for commercials to be over. We endure long-term waiting for decisions to be made, diagnoses to be given, and events to occur. With all this experience, we think we should be good at it. Unfortunately, we aren’t usually very good at waiting. We wait in a variety of unhealthy ways: passively, helplessly, anxiously, and angrily. Waiting is so pervasive and encompassing it moves beyond being a mental act, causing bodily responses such as thumb twiddling, hand wringing, nail biting, and fist pounding. I can remember feeling physically sick as my husband and I waited for our son, Max, to come to our family from an orphanage in China. Thirteen months felt like an awful endlessness. During this very uncomfortable wait for Max, I was driven to consider waiting in better ways. I was led to an Advent reading by Henri Nouwen, titled Waiting for God (1993). Nouwen showed me that the Bible is full of “waiters”—Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon and Anna—and these people are representative of the remnant of Israel. Nouwen asks and answers the question, “How are they [people of the Bible] waiting, and how are we called to wait with them?” Nouwen’s conclusions are insightful and practical: 1) People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait; 2) while waiting, we are to be fully present in the moment; 3) a waiting person is a patient person who believes something hidden will be evident to us; 4) waiting is open-ended, filled with hope for what God desires to bring us beyond our imagination; 5) we wait together; and, 6) we wait patiently in expectation. While we wait for the mundane or the Magnificent, let us wait like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, and Simeon and Anna: attentively and expectantly.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

Pause and meditate on the Scripture.

PRAYER:  From the Gelasian Sacramentary, a book of Christian liturgy, which is the oldest western liturgical book that has survived.  The book is linked to Pope Gelasius I. It was compiled near Paris around 750.

O Lord our God, make us watchful and heedful as we await the coming of your Son, Christ our Lord, that when he comes and knocks, he will find us not sleeping in sins but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Click on the link to see and hear the music video.

MUSIC VIDEO:  Cherokee Hills Church: Beauty in the Waiting

IMAGE: Bethanie Sulleza: Waiting

If using an advent wreath, light the first purple candle and the second purple candle.  The second candle represents faith and is called “Bethlehem’s Candle.” Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, which is also the birthplace of King David.

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