Our CEO, Scott Sanders introduces our "Being Present" Advent series with a reflection from Isaiah on what it means to pursue peace during this season.
I find myself reflecting deeply at this time of year. It's been a busy and full year in our home. We've had increased work for both my husband (Philip) and myself. Travel schedules have been heavier than ever, we've (all) made it through our first HSC with our eldest child, Sophia. We've seen more health challenges within our extended family than ever before. In fact, this year has been hard and stretching on almost every front.
In saying that, this year has also been one whereby we have grown the most in our faith, as a couple and as a family. What I mean by that is there have been questions about what we believe and why we believe certain things. There has been a wrestle with what seems to have always been the way we've lived out our faith life and new and exciting steps that we have taken to bring expression to our love of Christ. The road has had many twists and turns, and as we look back, it's been rich and deep.
At the beginning of the year, Philip and I began a journey of simply being quiet in the presence of God. We decided that surely, God has more to say to us than we have to him. We shook up our expression of faith and created quiet space for God to speak to us rather than us speak to him. One year later, all we can say is it's been one of the loudest years of our lives. We have heard and experienced God in new and extraordinary ways. And we found that He is ever present, and His presence is experienced with every breath.
Christmas can add extra weight to families and the busy lives we all lead. There are the practical pressures and logistics of the family that require our attention. There is financial pressure on families, and then there is all the unspoken in between. As I think about the pressure on families, the uncertainty that many people feel and are experiencing I'm reminded of the story of Mary in Luke 1: 26 -38. She was a young teenage girl who had an angel appear to her telling her that she would conceive a child and give birth. Talk about uncertainty, fear and stress! Can you even imagine what she would have thought?
What I love about this story, though, is that when the Angel Gabriel appears to her, he tells her to 'fear not' and he goes on to tell her that the Holy Spirit will come on her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her.
This Advent, like Mary, may we all find confidence in the in the truth that is revealed to each one of us. May we be still in His presence and know that He is God, whatever life throws our way. And, this Christmas may we hold those we love close and together and may we be present in His presence.
Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, All is bright.
Daily Reading Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.