The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, “God is with us.” — Matthew 1:23 (NRSV)
Advent is a season of beginnings and endings. For me, this truth has never been quite so present nor so poignant as it is this year. As I write this in late 2018, I am anticipating the birth of my first child. I can’t help but identify with Mary and Joseph — new parents themselves. With the birth of Jesus, they must have experienced the ending of one pace of life and the beginning of another — shaped by this tiny baby.
In the stable in Bethlehem, they must have pondered with mixed excitement and fear how their lives would change. The miracle and promise of Advent and Christmas is that the birth of the Christ child not only changed life and reality for his parents but for all the world.
As we enter the season of Advent, what changes are you anticipating? What endings and beginnings are taking shape in your life? As we bid farewell to one year and welcome in a new one, God’s promise to us through the birth of Christ is to be with us through each of our endings and beginnings. We need only to find room in the inns of our hearts for the Christ child to make his home among us once again.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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