Advent: a time to stop and remember
By Mark DeMott
This coming Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent. It's easy to miss in the midst of all of the commotion. Finishing papers and studying for tests. Final exams on the horizon. Busy days at work. Christmas shopping. Getting excited to go home. Counting down the days. Whatever anxiety spending time with family may bring. And then, back to studying. Back to work. Life keeps flying by, and we try our best to hang on. Our worries pile up with the world's worries: trying to make ends meet, caring for our health, meeting due dates and deadlines, wondering if anyone really loves us...
In the midst of the cold, the darkness and the never-ending rain, we light a single candle. Something is about to happen. He's coming! We don't know quite when, we don't know just where, we're not sure how... Some days, it doesn't seem to make any sense. But we know. The prophets of Israel remind us that the days are coming when God will fulfill the promise. Just as the nation of Israel once waited for the Messiah, so we wait for Jesus to come again in glory. He's coming! The brokenness of the world - the emptiness, the loneliness, the pain - will pass away. Light will overcome darkness. Peace and justice will reign. Everyone will be gathered into the Kingdom of God. For real! He's coming!
The flame flickers dimly as we wait in hope. It's still cold, it's still dark, and it's still raining. We still have tests and papers. Work still piles up on our desks. Our inbox still fills with messages. Emptiness, loneliness and pain plague our world. It's easy to forget the promise. It's easy to get distracted. It's easy to doubt. But the prophets tell us that it's time to get ready. It's time to keep the candle burning. It's time to feed the fire. It's time to prepare the way of our God. He's coming!
Where can we shine light in the darkness? Where can we bring warmth amidst the cold? To whom can we bring hope? To whom can we bring joy? Where can we begin to proclaim the Kingdom? How can we work to bring about the Kingdom?
In the weeks ahead, we'll light another candle, then another, and another... Finally, on the darkest day of the year, all four candles will be burning brightly, giving witness to God's enduring presence among us - the perfect gift of self - Jesus the Christ. This is what our lives are really about - God dwelling with us, now and forever. Perhaps our lives might be like these burning candles. Living joyfully. Loving generously. Sometimes flickering, but never going out. Constantly calling out to others that something wonderful is about to happen. He's coming!
Finish your work. Take your exams. Answer your e-mail. Shop for Christmas gifts. But, don't miss Advent in the midst of the commotion. Place yourself in the presence of these burning candles. Rejoice in the words of the prophet. Don't miss the telling of the promise. Everything is about to change. He's coming! Our God is coming to dwell in our midst. The Kingdom of God is coming. Prepare the way with your joy. Prepare the way with your love. Burn brightly, that the world may know!
Deacon Mark DeMott, is director of Shipstad Hall and serves on the Campus Ministry team.
Campus Ministry Calendar
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
6:00 p.m. Fish - Buckley Center 163 - Conference Room
7:30 p.m. Fish Discipleship Meeting - Buckley Center 206
Saturday, December 01, 2012
4:00 p.m. REX Christmas Service - Chapel - Christ the
Teacher Chapel Music Chapel
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
9:00 p.m. Fish - Buckley Center 163 - Conference Room
Thursday, December 06, 2012
9:00 p.m. Eucharistic Adoration - Shipstad Hall Ugandan Martyrs Chapel
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
9:00 p.m. Fish - Buckley Center 163