#Advent2016 – Day Six

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Lori’s Reflections

When I was a child, I made a promise to God. To be honest, I can’t really remember what it was. All I remember is that I broke it. And I was devastated. It took some time before I got up the courage to ask our pastor if God could ever forgive me. Of course the answer was yes, but it took still longer for me to believe it.

Promises are a big deal to me. I am dead serious about them. Still, I have broken many more since then. Sometimes out of negligence or weakness, sometimes because of circumstances outside of my control, and sometimes because I had no business making it in the first place. If you were to make me a promise, I would like to believe you but I wouldn’t stake my life on it. Unfortunately, I know myself and you all too well; we have an exceptional ability to fail ourselves and each other.
It seems so improbable to me that God’s chosen people believed and held to the promise of the coming Messiah for so long. I mean, it took hundreds and hundreds of years and many generations before Jesus showed up, and all they had to go on was God’s word on the matter. Yet they held fast, and they taught their children to expect Him. God’s promises didn’t devolve into folklore or old wives’ tales, but they were held as fact.
Today we find ourselves in a similar limbo. God has promised the return of Jesus and that He will gather us to him forever. And we have been waiting a long time. Still, this is everything to us who follow Christ, and the bedrock of our faith. Why do we still believe after all this time? The Holy Spirit, who can touch the depths in us where mere words or understanding cannot, whispers to our soul and we know it is true. Because God’s promises are bigger than what we can understand a promise to be. God could no more break his word than I could become six feet tall. It’s just impossible.

So I challenge you to take a minute and read all the promises God has made to you in the Bible. They are very personal. And know that they are absolutely set in stone. Tell them to yourself so you better understand who God is and how he feels about you. It will change you, I promise. No really, I do.

Shea’s Reflections

“If the tender yearning is gone from the advent hope today there must be a reason for it; and I think I know what it is […] popular fundamentalist theology has emphasized the utility of the cross rather than the beauty of the One who died on it.”

Pragmatism is defined as “an approach that assesses truth or meaning of things in terms of the success of their practical application.” Pragmatism is evil. Or least, it is when mis-applied. The saying… “When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” is helpful here – pragmatism sways us to judge everything, and everyone, in terms of whether they are useful to us. 

As Janet once sang… “What Have You Done For Me Lately!?!” – and I fear we ask the same of Christ in these days of wide-spread ADHDeity. We don’t often intently seek the inherent goodness, the innate beauty, the intrinsic truth – we look at squirrels instead. And if something isn’t “working” for us, we toss it like slightly stale cookies rather than holding on to hope for which we were called by our Creator and Savior – the Almighty. 

But at the same time, please be aware that we are victims as much as we are offenders here. Nurture and Nature have been stacked against us in this regard and so I will not ask you to rev up your power banks and just “do better”, nor will I ask you to pick up your swords and slay the pragmatic beasts as they come at you one by one. I only encourage to you see them for what they are, and then lift your eyes to your Champion – the Pioneer and Perfecter of your faith – the One who will arrive in glory.