Advent 6: Now That We’re Listening

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t break through the clouds with an angel chorus to get our attention with what he needs to say?

How cool is it that Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, and the Shepherds all got a direct and very specific message from God?!

But why not me God?

I mean, how much heartache, seemingly wasted time, problems, pain, and suffering could be avoided if instead “guessing” what it might be that God wants us to do, we had explicit direction.

I think it might be linked to that angel thing. Stay with me on this.

Every time an angel brought a message, the first thing they had to do was tell the recipient to not be afraid. Angels must not be those cutesy things we hang on our walls or put on our cards at Christmas. They must be scarey. It cold be their appearance–if you read about them in Isaiah, this makes sense. But it could also be that when angels brought a message from God, the people knew that something was going to be required of them. Life was going to change. And we all know how much we like that!

So we’ve made a pact to listen more this Advent season. Listen, believing that God has something to say. But how might he do it?

Hebrews 13:2 may give us some help with this. The writer admonishes us to offer hospitality to strangers because we never know when we might be welcoming an angel without knowing it.

Now those “strangers” may not knock on our door. They may be ringing the Salvation Army bell. They might be standing in the line in front of us at Walmart or the grocery. Perhaps they will sit next to us at church or the table near us at Denny’s. If we have our “God ears” (a concept developed by my friend Ginger Harrington–look up her stuff it’s really good!) we might just hear a word from God.

No fanfare or sparkly choir needed. Just open hears and an open heart. God has something to say–don’t miss it because it comes dressed as a stranger.

Advent 3: Willing

When I think of Mary and Joseph I am struck by their willingness to participate in God’s drama as it unfolded.

First, consider Joseph. In Matthew’s account, Joseph nearly steps out of the story. From a cultural perspective, he was well within his rights to do so. To chose not to would go against everything that was expected of him. But God sends an angel and we read in Matthew 1:24 how Joseph awoke and obeyed what the angel commanded.

He didn’t have to, but he was willing.

Then we have Mary. A young girl. Betrothed. An angel appears to her and tells her what is about to happen. We’re told that Mary was troubled by the very presence and greeting of the angel. The angel tells her not to be afraid and then gives her the plan.

What amazes me is that she doesn’t even question him. Her response: I’m your servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.

What is God asking of you? Does it seem too big? Are you frightened of the consequences? Does it fly in the face of convention and expectation? If so, you are in good company.

What he did for Mary and Joseph, he will do for: he will be with you every step of the way!

An old saying that has proven true in my own life seems to fit here: God’s will won’t take you where his grace can’t keep you.

Are you willing?

%d bloggers like this: