Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent reflections - 12/21/2011

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)



Why is it that we so often live in the past? Why do we so frequently attempt to build our current days based on the blessings of yesterday? You’ve heard the expressions: “Those were the good ‘ol days!” “Remember when…?” “Things are just not like they used to be.” I am especially reminded of this during Christmas because we tend to focus so much on tradition. As soon as the decorations come out, the music starts playing and our favorite TV shows come on, we are transported to another place and time. We think back on the magic of Christmas when we were younger, and long for those nostalgic feelings that captured us then. In an effort to recreate the memories of yesterday, we strive to re-create a Christmas that relives those we remember. But we usually end up disappointed and a little frustrated. Why can’t things just be like they used to be?

The problem with nostalgia is that it focuses on something that no longer exists. The past remains only in our memories and if we’re really honest with ourselves, nothing can be done to relive the days that have passed. The only thing in which we can control is our present, and when you think about it, we really have no control over that either. In reality, all we have is today. In fact, all we truly have is this moment. This moment that we share today, celebrating Advent together. The past is no longer. Tomorrow will be. Today is what it is.

As we hurdle toward Christmas Eve, as the excitement builds, and as we celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, rest in the present. God once spoke through the prophets of old, and revealed His soon coming. For a time God was silent, and the people of Israel longed for the days when the Lord spoke to them. But as time passed, He indeed came into the world. That moment of time, in the quiet and peace of Bethlehem was better. No more longing. No more looking back. Emmanuel, God with us!


Lord, in the quiet of this moment, help us to keep ourselves in Your presence. Help us to live our lives day to day, in great anticipation of the blessings You provide moment to moment. Let us look on the past with joyful memories, look to the future with hope and live today in your love and grace. 

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