Reflection for the 17th December 2006
Third Sunday of Advent
“ Yahweh your God is in your midst…he will renew you by his love;”
“: the Lord is very near. There is no need to worry…”
“ I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am…he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit…”
God Within Us
During the time of Advent, scripture draws us to reflect on how best to prepare for that which really matters at Christmas time. As we rush and hurry at the end of a secular year we tend to forget that this is actually the ‘beginning’ of the Christian year. As we pick up the pace for end of year parties and last minute shopping, our materialistic, secular culture elevates a getting mentality over a giving one, a storing up mentality over a stripping back one.
If we slow down a bit we might just notice how much profit, gain and self -interest so often dominate so many moments in our culture. We might just glimpse, as we search the garage for that box of Christmas tinsel, how much we accumulate stuff and stuff and more stuff.
So much of what we miss about the Christian way lies revealed for us in the Christmas story. If we look closely at the story of Christmas, and read as a people open to more than literal truth, we may find more to our strange story of Jesus and lowly innkeepers, straw beds and donkeys. We may just begin to see life revealed to us through a story about having very little and human vulnerability.
When we hear the story again of a small baby, dependent on the care and protection of others, when we see where this child is born, when we feel the poverty and isolation of his parents, we may just begin to see something of the mystery of God’s vulnerability, and ours, hidden right in front of us. The story of the birth of ‘God with Us’ – “Emmanuel” – points to the hidden life of God within us.
“ : the Lord is very near…”
Paradoxically, God who is in our minds the most different One, the most distinct One, the most not like us, is revealed as the most hidden One, the most the same, the most One with us, the most profoundly human One hidden right in the heart of our ordinariness and vulnerability.
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Copyright © Kate Englebrecht, Mission Possible Education