Pastor's notes for 15 Dec 2013
One important word during the season of Advent is “WAIT”. Last Sunday I shared an article by Margaret Manning on the theme of waiting. One important reminder she shared was:
The season of Advent that precedes Christmas is a season of hope-filled waiting. Advent looks forward in anticipation of Christ’s return, but also remembers all those who awaited his arrival into our world more than two thousand years ago. Advent is a season of stillness and reflection and as such, it is the antithesis of all the busyness and chaos of the Christmas shopping season.
This week I would like to add another word for our consideration. And that word is “LISTEN”.
We live in a culture where we are not used to waiting. Popular culture works at conditioning us to want everything now. New quickly becomes old and we being conditioned to be easily distracted and impatient for the next cool thing, the latest upgrade etc. Many get restless and bored within minutes and get agitated and have to plug in the ear phones for some music to fill the silence or to drown out the activities around them. It is almost as living in the present has become unbearable.
We are often in such a hurry to get to the next exciting thing that we miss out of the wonder of the present. Revelation 1:8, 22:13, Exodus 3:14 and Hebrews 13:8 are some key passages that remind us that God is timeless, unchanging and at work simultaneously in the past, present and future.
In Advent we are preparing to remember a past event of eternal significance – the birth of the Saviour. We are also waiting in anticipation of a future event of eternal significance – the return of the Saviour. But we will miss out the wonder and appreciation of these two events if we forget the significance of the present – the now. God is at work in the present and we will miss this when we do not take time to wait upon Him and listen to what He is saying.
Many of us are familiar with the beautiful promise of Isaiah 40:30-31 related to waiting. But read on to the next verse 41:1 and see how listening is connected with waiting.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
41:1 Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
Most church ministries like home group, youth, Sunday School have closed for the year. Others are also winding down. Ministries have slowed down so we can have time to rest and be refreshed. A big part of this refreshment can only truly happen when we take time to slow down, wait and listen.
May you hear the voice of God this Advent season!
“Advent: the time to listen for footsteps — you can't hear footsteps when you're running yourself.” - Bill McKibben