The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
— Luke 2:20 (NRSV)
With this issue, we enter my favorite time of year. I love Christmas music and Christmas movies. And I love the deeper theological meaning of this season: That God breaks into human history to change us and our lives. Advent invites us to expect God to act.
For me, one memorable picture of joyous expectation comes from a dog friend of mine — a huge, happy Golden Retriever named Luther. One morning as Luther and his owner walked near where I live, an amazing thing happened: a squirrel fell out of a tree right in front of Luther. All Luther had to do was pounce. (Luther’s owner managed to save the clumsy squirrel in spite of its bad timing.) After that, every morning Luther approached that area quivering with excitement, eyes fixed on the tree from whence the squirrel had fallen, looking for another amazing gift. Advent invites us to similar, energetic expectation, look-ing for God to show up in unexpected places and ways. Sometimes God’s gifts drop into our lives in ways that amaze us and stop us in our tracks. Sometimes they come more quietly and subtly. And sometimes we make them real only by considerable effort. In myriad ways, God comes.
What if we, like the shepherds pictured on this cover, look for God to show up? The amazing truth our writers witness to is that God does come to us — again and again. As you read the meditations in this issue, may you see how God is at work in your life this Christmas season.
"As the survivor of childhood trauma, I’ve come a long way in my healing process. This is thanks in part to years of therapy, a lot of hard work, and an incredible support network of family and friends. More so, it’s the result of learning to be still with God, to offer up my pain for God to transform, and to realize I am God’s beloved. I’m now in a place of peace, one that has stayed with me for several years now."