By Bonnie Parsons …
In the second week of Advent, we heard that that this season is about God’s longing for us. Can you Imagine that God longs for you? That God longs for us? That he longs for me? Alan reminded us that like Dickens’ famous Christmas Carol, with the ghost of Christmas past – we enter into the season together. We each carry with us all the memories of Christmases gone by, as well as hopes and dreams for the joys we anticipate.
Those memories keep us company, some of it joyful and some of it tinged with sadness and even regret. Truly the full weight of the Christmas tradition in our lives is only as rich as it can be when every memory and dream – finds a home. Truly, the experience of our community in faith offers such hospitality.
The heightened expectations of the season offer expression of the joy, but they can also impinge on our ability to be “present” in the ordinary days of this time. Just as Zechariah was terrified to encounter God’s messenger in the course of his prayer time in the Holy of Holies, are we prepared to experience God’s longing for us in this season?
Pastor Alan encouraged us with the annunciation story of John the Baptist, Zechariah’s epiphany. It’s a beautiful story of God’s provision of fertility to a mature and barren woman. The promise and the gift of life, of new life, is always a blessing. The promise of a son to be born to a barren wife of a priestly couple was unfathomable to Zechariah. Is the promise God has made to us, to me unfathomable?
After a beautiful time of worship and sharing from our outreach through Frontlines, we gathered in the basement for food and rallying of the troops. Indeed, the 26th Annual Food Drive included a visit from the Mayor!
The Intimacy promised by God’s longing for us encompasses and makes room for every season of our lives – past, present and future. What intimacy have we forfeited when we live in fear of trusting those relationships to bear the weight of both joy and sorrow? Our community as a family in faith is a great place to practice that hospitality with one another. Receiving grace. Offering grace.
Listen to this sermon here!