Written on December 26
I've had four weeks of Christmas. The Church calls it Advent. The beginning of the Christian year. It is the season first, of waiting, of expectation. A time of mystery, of something within the air. A season of signals from heaven, telling what's about to happen on the earth.
It is the time of star-gazing, of guessing at the meaning of things, of wondering about what God's doing, what He has in mind for His world, and about what is the great plan being put together that will affect the world so profoundly.
We know and love the Baby story, the star story, the shepherd story. We love the host of angels and their message. And the shepherds' race to Bethlehem to "see this thing that has come to pass." We love the thought of "wise men" searching, and finally humbling themselves at the cradle in the barn in Bethlehem.
What we often don't let ourselves see is the deep mystery of this time. Not just the historic time of Jesus' birth two millenia ago, but this profoundly deep time of mystery that repeats itself every year. What we need to understand is that it IS a time of angels. It is a time of Jesus in His Holy Spirit, coming very close. The air is alive with His presence. the night is bright with His coming.
Just as I sat writing this, with a certain wonder in my own heart, my phone rang. A brilliant, intellectual friend of mine was calling to say he had encountered a minister in a Holy Spirit church in the city, who had picked him out of a small congregation, saying, "I want to pray for you. You are lucky to be alive." My friend knew it was true because he had recently survived a very threatening accident.
My friend wanted me to know. He had to tell something. Clearly, he was in the hands of the Spirit of God, being led, dealt with, touched, guided.
I believe that happens to all of us, often without our really knowing it.
We are much more visited people than we realize. And, the mystical season of Christmas, of our remembering Christ's coming, is in fact an annually repeated season of His actually coming to confront us, tap us on the shoulder, saying, "I am here with you, dealing with your life. Wake up. Look around, I am here."
Think about it, friend. About how true it is. And bless your remaining days of Christmas.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES