COMMAnts from the Conference Minister | December 2014

Waiting for God’s Intervention

shari prestemonThe decorations have been pulled out of the attics or other deep recesses where they languished for 11 months. The frenzy of shopping and lists and social calendars and family events has begun. Favorite songs of Christmas cheer pour from loud speakers and clinking bells greet us at store entrances. All this is the familiar and frantic pace of these weeks before Christmas.

Yet, so little of that resembles what Advent is really about in our Christian life. This faithful season of pensive anticipation and hope-filled waiting for Christ to come is lost in the din of what has become our culture’s obsessive rush to Christmas. We have no time to reflect on the wonder of God born flesh among us, no patience for pondering how we need God still to enter our lives and world in stunningly unexpected ways.

Yet that is the quality of Advent we so profoundly need right now… an Advent full of quiet hope and prayerful anticipation, a time when we are willing to sit with the unrest and despair in our lives and await the intervention of God’s Word and fresh Promise. We need God’s Advent in Ferguson, Missouri and in all the places where injustice and brokenness dwell. We need God’s Advent in families and households where grief resides and hope is lost. We need God’s Advent in the Church, when we struggle to discern God’s call and purpose for us amid vastly changing times. We need Christ to enter in with unmistakable clarity and boldness. We need Advent.

As these weeks of Advent unfold before us, I pray that you might find the time and space to sit with all the places in your life that yearn for God’s wisdom and presence to be made known. I pray that in our sanctuaries and church life there might be a quality and character to this holy season that avoids the endless frenzy and embraces instead the gifts of prayerful anticipation and faith-filled hope. And I give abundant thanks for all the ways our ministry together in the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ reveals whatever bits of God’s glory and promise the world so desperately needs.

May you know the wondrous blessings and persevering hope of the season,

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