An Advent message written for the Dodge County Independent

2 Dec

Did you know that we are in the midst of the season of Advent: the four-week period leading up to Christmas? The season of Advent is an opportunity to slow down in the midst of the busy holiday rush; an opportunity to reflect on how our lives in faith shape our relationships with God one another and informs the choices that we make.

The prophet Isaiah proclaims,

“A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'” (Isaiah 40:3)

The place to find God is not in the overwhelming piles of advertisements; the voice of God is not telling us about amazing deals and low-interest financing incentives. God is not calling us to become ever more anxious about our inability to afford buying things for people this year. No, the voice of God calls to us from the wilderness, from a place stripped away of all ephemeral distractions. The still, calm voice of God beckons us toward peace and love. God invites us to consider compassion over consumption, and to trust that we always have enough when we focus on the important things in life–our relationship with God and with one another.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I watched a television special on a Norman Rockwell painting entitled Freedom from Want. It is a simple painting of a family sitting around a Thanksgiving dinner table, with members of Rockwell’s family painted into the scene. I was especially moved by the title: Freedom from Want, a reminder that the most important things in life are our loving relationships. There is almost nothing better than breaking bread with family and friends, and this season my family and I give thanks for our new community of friends.

The holiday season can be difficult for many who have lost loved ones and for those who find themselves alone. Pray for them, that they might feel the loving presence of God, their comfort and companion. Ask someone who might be lonely or unhappy at this time of year over for coffee or a meal, so that they can share in your bounty and partake in the joy of the season with you. Together we have so much.

“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Many Blessings to you all,
Colin+

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