FOR FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23
"How has God surprised you as you waited?" by the Rev. Katie Gillett, Christ Church Parish, Pensacola
Since moving to the Gulf Coast, I have come to appreciate more and more the beauty of the sun as it rises. While I wish I had the discipline to watch the sun rise each morning, I find that when I do take the time it is incredibly healing. Yet, waiting for the sun to rise is an exercise in patience and waiting. The moments before the sun peaks above the horizon are some of the darkest times of night. The darkness of waiting lends itself to feelings of isolation, weariness, and longing for the first glint of light. As the spiritual writer and theologian, Henri Nouwen describes, “waiting is a dry desert between where we are and where we want to be.” Time becomes a great chasm where night stretches on and the anticipation grows. In waiting, we search for the beginning of something new – the dawn of a new day.
In waiting, we experience wonder and amazement. The sky bursts forth with an amazing colorful display as the first hints of gold break the horizon. Beautiful hues of pink, purple, and blue brighten as the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. I sit in awe of a new day, recognizing once more that I am a new creation transformed by the love of God in Christ. As I sit waiting for the fullness of a bright new day, I am amazed and marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. And we are in good company; for in Scripture, we hear often of being surprised by God. The Greek word we find in Scripture for being surprised (θαυμάζω, thaumazo) is the same to wonder, be amazed at, and to be astonished. Each day is an opportunity to find awe and wonder in God’s bountiful love transforming us and the world around us.
Today is a new day. A new day to be surprised by God in the midst of the many waiting moments of our life. The dawn is breaking. Soon, we will marvel once more as we journey in heart and mind to Bethlehem where God became flesh and dwelt among us.
May Almighty God, who sent his Son to take our nature upon him, bless you in this holy season, scatter the darkness of sin, and brighten your heart with the light of his holiness. Amen.
Reading for this week: Matthew 1: 18-25
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Collect for this week:
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Join us this Advent as we explore what it’s like to wait! We are offering a collection of daily questions and reflections inviting us to consider what we experience and learn in our waiting, and how we find God - and God finds us - in our waiting.
Each Sunday a brief video will be shared on Facebook and Instagram to introduce us to a focus and reflection for the week. Each day a question will be posted for us to ponder. You are invited to share your own reflections by replying to these posts or reposting on your personal social media. Please follow and use #diocgcwaits. Be sure to follow our diocesan social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram; search: DioCGC.